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Series tied 3-3
A longstanding drought will end for either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night while the other team will be flooded with heartbreak. The visiting Cubs forced a decisive Game 7 with Tuesday’s 9-3 victory and are aiming to win their first World Series title since 1908 while the Indians are trying to break a rut that dates back to 1948.
Chicago recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win the last two games but has yet to solve Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, who is looking to become the first starting pitcher since Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1968 to record three victories in a single World Series. Chicago shortstop Addison Russell (age 22) is coming off his own sterling performance as he became the second youngest player to hit a grand slam (behind New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle) and matched the Series record of six RBIs – tying Yankees Bobby Richardson (1960), Hideki Matsui (2009) and former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols (2011). “We’ve been doing this all year, putting new history in history books and you wouldn’t be able to tell that,” Russell told reporters afterward. The one-sided affair allows the Indians to have stellar left-hander Andrew Miller (0.53 ERA, 29 strikeouts in 17 postseason innings in 2016) and right-handed closer Cody Allen (22 strikeouts in 11 2/3 scoreless innings in 2016) rested for Game 7 while Cubs left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman pitched 1 1/3 innings on Tuesday despite the margin.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, FOX
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for Game 7 in Cleveland is calling for mostly cloudy skies with unseasonably warm temperatures in the low-70’s. There is a growing chance of rain later in the game and the wind will be blowing straight out to center at 6-8 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 1.31 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (4-1, 0.89)
Hendricks, who won 16 regular-season games, took a no-decision in Game 3 of the World Series when he allowed six hits and two walks in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. The 26-year-old is ecstatic to have the opportunity to help the Cubs end their 108-year title drought. “Exactly, this is the ultimate dream. You dream of getting to the World Series, winning the World Series,” Hendricks told reporters at a press conference. “When you’re out in your backyard as a kid, playing Little League at the field with your friends, this is the moment you dream about. … It’s always Game 7 of the World Series.”
Kluber has struck out 15 in 12 innings during the World Series while allowing just one run in his two victories. He has repeatedly had his best stuff during the postseason despite regularly pitching on short rest and manager Terry Francona has been impressed that the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner has remained sharp. “I wouldn’t want to do this all year, in fairness to him,” Francona told reporters at a press conference. “But I think for a couple starts, I think he can handle it just fine.”
* Cubs are 4-1 in their last 5 playoff road games.
* Cubs are 5-0 in Hendricks’ last 5 road starts.
* Indians are 5-0 in their last 5 when their opponent scores 5 runs or more in their previous game.
* Indians are 7-1 in Kluber’s last 8 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 5-0 in Hendricks’ last 5 interleague starts.
* Under is 11-2 in Indians’ last 13 playoff games.
* Under is 4-0 in Kluber’s last 4 home starts.
* Cubs are 1-5 in their last 6 games with Holbrook behind home plate.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is favoring the home underdog Indians in Game 7 at a rate of 56 percent. Under is picking up 57 percent of the wagers on the total.