Indians lead series 2-1
Corey Kluber has been superb this postseason, and another solid effort could put the Cleveland Indians in the driver’s seat as they seek their first World Series title since 1948. Kluber is 3-1 with a 0.74 ERA in four starts this October and will look to help the Indians take a 3-1 series lead when they visit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Kluber dominated the Cubs in Game 1 by striking out nine and allowing four hits over six-plus innings while picking up the victory. Cleveland’s pitching has been superb throughout the postseason, and Friday’s 1-0 victory – courtesy of Coco Crisp’s run-scoring single – was its fifth via shutout in 11 playoff games. Chicago has been blanked four times this postseason, recording only five hits in the Game 3 loss, and the three hitters atop the order – Dexter Fowler (.154), Kris Bryant (.091) and Anthony Rizzo (.182) – have struggled. “You don’t anticipate or expect that, but this time of the year, you see good pitching. That’s what it is,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after his team was blanked for the second time in the series. “When you get to the latter part of the season, you have to beat the best to be the best.”
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, FOX
LINE HISTORY: The Cubs opened Game 4 as -130 favorites and have been bet up slightly to -133. With a good pitching matchup and weather expected to less of a factor, oddsmakers set this total at a very low 6.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: As mentioned above, weather is expected to be as much of a factor, but that doesn’t mean the forecast is clear for Game 4. There is an 11 percent chance of rain and temperatures in the mid 50’s. The winds are swirling around Chicago, as last night there was a hitter’s wind, but this time around it’s the pitchers getting the hand. The winds will be blowing at a moderate 7-to-9 miles per hour in from right field.
SERIES PRICE (PER SPORTS INTERACTION):
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The Cubs have a 56 percent chance of winning Game 4 tonight, but for the first time this season, the Indians are now favored to win the World Series. The updated betting odds now give Cleveland a 55 percent chance of winning the title with a 2-1 series lead. The Indians had just a 36 percent chance when the series began, a 50 percent chance after taking a 1-0 series lead, and just a 32 percent chance when the series was tied 1-1.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (3-1, 0.74 ERA) vs. Cubs RH John Lackey (0-0, 5.63)
Kluber has struck out 29 batters in 24 1/3 postseason innings and says part of the reason for his success has been his ability to keep things low-key. “I think that it’s just as fun and exciting as we all imagined it would be,” Kluber said at a press conference. “I think that you try to take the work in between as normal as you can. Obviously, there are off-days and stuff like that built in, but you still try to just get your work in, get ready, and when you go out there, it’s fun.” Kluber is starting on short rest but threw only 88 pitches in Tuesday’s effort.
Lackey has made only two previous starts this postseason – his most recent one on Oct. 19 – and lasted just four innings in each. The 38-year-old will be making his fifth career World Series start and allows that going so long between outings isn’t the best for his routine. “It’s kind of been a crazy schedule for me, for sure,” Lackey said at a press conference. “I feel like I’m pitching every two weeks kind of deal. But I’ve thrown a little more on the side, off the mound, trying to stay sharp.”
* Indians are 7-1 in their last eight road games.
* Cubs are 5-0 in Lackey’s last five starts.
* Under is 11-1-1 in Indians last 13 overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Cubs last four overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are giving the “Loveable Losers” the slightest of edges in Game 4, with 51 percent of wagers on the Cubs. When it comes to the total, 56 percent of wagers are on the Over.
MVP ODDS (PER SPORTS INTERACTION): Teammates Corey Kluber and Andrew Miller are the co-favorites to win the World Series MVP.