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Indians offense stalls in 5-1 loss to Chicago Cubs in Game 2 loss; World Series tied 1-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 26, 2016

The Indians’ offense ran cold against Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta in a 5-1 loss in Game 2 Wednesday night that evened the World Series 1-1.

After the Indians enjoyed Corey Kluber’s strong outing in Game 1, Arrieta and the Cubs returned the favor in Game 2 to send the series to Chicago at a game apiece. It marked the first time this postseason the Indians haven’t led a series after Game 1. It was also their first postseason loss at Progressive Field.

Arrieta, last season’s National League Cy Young Award winner, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning that was broken up with a double to center field by Jason Kipnis. Arietta’s no-hitter bid of 5 1/3 innings was the longest in the World Series since 1969. By the time Kipnis ended it, the Cubs had already built a 5-0 lead.

Kipnis advanced to third on a groundout off the bat of Francisco Lindor and scored on a wild pitch to represent the Indians’ only offense of the night. Though Kipnis, dealing with a low ankle sprain, also committed two errors in the field.

Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was able to stay away from any trouble with his pinkie finger, but he still wasn’t able to last long into the game. Bauer quickly racked up a high pitch count and was taken out after 3 2/3 innings and 87 pitches, the third shortest World Series start in Indians history.

The Cubs struck quickly in the first inning against Bauer. Kris Bryant singled with one out and Anthony Rizzo doubled to right field. Lonnie Chisenhall’s throw went to second base instead of the cut-off man, denying any potential play at the plate.

In the third, Bauer was one strike away from ending the inning but couldn’t escape it without damage. Bauer had two outs and an 0-2 count but then lost the strike zone and walked Rizzo. Ben Zobrist followed with a single to put runners on the corners and Kyle Schwarber ripped a single back up the middle to make it 2-0.

The Cubs pulled away in the fifth while the Indians still searched for their first hit. With Zach McAllister on the mound and Rizzo on first, Zobrist drove a ball to right field. Chisenhall slipped while trying to play the carom off the wall, giving Zobrist an RBI-triple. Schwarber then added his second RBI-single of the night, this one off Bryan Shaw. Shaw, with the bases loaded, later walked in a run on four pitches to extend the Cubs’ lead to 5-0.

A small sliver of good news with the entire series in view is that Bauer was able to make it through his start without his pinkie finger bleeding to the point of his having to be taken out of the game. It means he’ll still be slated to start Game 5 in Chicago on short rest.

Game 2 also featured the postseason debut of Danny Salazar, who didn't allow a hit but walked two in his first inning of work since straining his forearm in early September.

But after a postseason of the Indians having to punch back and battle to overcome obstacles, they’re in for their toughest fight yet as the series turns to Wrigley Field for Friday night’s Game 3.

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Indians set to throw Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin on short rest

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 26, 2016

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Indians in this World Series has been answered, barring something unforeseen.

On Wednesday, manager Terry Francona announced that the Indians are planning on bringing back Game 1 starting pitcher Corey Kluber on short rest to start Game 4 in Chicago. Kluber would then be in line to throw Game 7, if needed.

The move also points to Trevor Bauer (Games 2 and 5) and Josh Tomlin (Games 3 and 6) pitching on short rest as well. The Indians’ plan is to ride their three healthy starting pitchers through the World Series.

The ability to throw Kluber on short rest, which in turn set the rest of the setup in motion, became a reality when he only needed to throw 88 pitches in the Indians’ 6-0 win in Game 1 before handing the ball to Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.

“He’s all set to pitch,” Francona said. “That was probably Plan A. … Part of taking him out then was with that in mind, that you start getting deeper into the game, and if they mount a rally, getting out of that, you’re really exerting. … So we got him out of there. He knew why, and he’s ready to go.”

Kluber threw six scoreless innings and set a franchise record for strikeouts in a World Series game with nine. He’s been strong all October, allowing only two earned runs in 24 1/3 innings pitched. It would be the second time in his career he’s thrown on short rest, the first time coming in the Indians’ 5-1 loss in Game 4 of the ALCS to Toronto.

The other likely options for Game 4 were to start Ryan Merritt or Danny Salazar in Game 4. Merritt pitched well in his ALCS Game 5 start, sending the Indians to the World Series and just about earning him hero status in Cleveland. Salazar has been said to be available for 65-70 pitches or four innings but could be rusty.

Kluber has been the Indians’ workhorse and arguably the best starting pitcher in this postseason. And the club feels comfortable enough with Bauer and Tomlin that Francona wanted to hand the ball to Kluber up to three times.

“Finger aside, Trevor’s a guy that can pitch all the time,” Francona said. “Tomlin, we were a little concerned. He's been pitching great, but he doesn't have the biggest frame in the world. But he hasn't pitched that much, so I think we're okay.”

Nine up, nine down

Francona after Game 1 became the first manager in baseball history to win his first nine World Series games. His Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004 and then did the same against the Colorado Rockies in 2007.

“I think what it is is I've been fortunate to be around some really good players,” Francona said. “Baseball, your players are your players. You try not to mess them up, and you certainly want to use them where you think they can excel. But I just think I've been pretty fortunate. I'd be lying if I said something different.”

Earning miles

Kenny Lofton needed some help to get to Cleveland to throw out the first pitch before Game 1.

Lofton was put on standby at the airport and needed a seat. Ken Kostal, from Marblehead, Ohio, gave up his seat so Lofton could make it in time.

The Indians responded by saying on Twitter that they had hooked up Kostal up with two tickets to Game 6 in Cleveland.

Ratings gold

How many TV sets were tuned to the Indians’ Game 1 win? Technically more than there were for the Cavaliers’ Game 7 victory in June.

Per Crain’s Cleveland Business, Tuesday’s Game 1 drew a local rating of 46.5, besting all but one of the Cavs’ Finals games from the past two years and just beating Game 7’s 46.3 local rating, although that was likely lowered due to thousands watching in bars.

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Game 2 of World Series must go nine innings, MLB executive says

By Marla Ridenour Published: October 26, 2016

As of 4:30 p.m., Major League Baseball planned to start Game 2 of the World Series on time Wednesday night at 7:08 p.m.

But Peter Woodfork, senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB, said the game must go nine innings, per a rules change after the 2008 season. If play between the Indians and Chicago Cubs is suspended, it would resume at an undetermined time on Thursday.

The start time was moved up from 8:08 p.m. after Game 1 due to rain that is forecast to progressively worsen. While Woodfork said it has already rained harder at Progressive Field that was expected, the field is draining well and a drizzle shouldn't change the start time.

"Right now I think the plan is to play," Woodfork said. "We'll take all the information we get over the next two hours. We won't make a final decision until we need to get starters ready to pitch, which is 6, 6:15. Communicate with both clubs and try to set up a situation where we can play nine innings and get the game in."

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Musician releases song celebrating the Cleveland Indians and lifting the Curse of Rocky Colavito

By Dan Kadar Published: October 26, 2016

If you're old enough, you probably remember the songs from 1980s dedicated to the Cleveland Browns. There was songs like "Bernie, Bernie," which riffed off the classic "Louie, Louie." They were kind of corny, but kind of great and fully in tribute to the popular team at the time.

With the Cleveland Indians in the World Series and on top of the sports universe, musicians could turn their attention to the Tribe. Cleveland's own Neil Giraldo is already getting in on the fun. The guitarist and producer (and husband of Pat Benatar) reunited with his Cleveland band Thrills and Company to record "Liftin' the Curse of the Rock," which is all about the Indians.

The song is all about the Indians being underdogs and lifting the supposed Curse of Rocky Colavito. Listen to a snippet of it below, via Geraldo's Facebook page and iTunes.

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Andrew Miller works around bases loaded jam to help Indians defeat Cubs 6-0 in World Series opener

By Michael Beaven Published: October 26, 2016

By Michael Beaven

Beacon Journal sports writer

CLEVELAND: The slider and fastball were not quite on point on a consistent basis Tuesday night for Indians reliever Andrew Miller.

For one outing, the usually dominant Miller looked human.

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Indians 6, Cubs 0: Ryan Lewis’ 21 Walk-Off Thoughts on Corey Kluber, Roberto Perez, Andrew Miller

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 26, 2016

Here are 21 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series.

1. This team just keeps on rolling. And the club that wasn’t supposed to do anything of note in October is now three wins away from winning it all.

2. Corey Kluber and Jon Lester each entered this game with sub-1.00 ERAs in October. They’ve been nearly untouchable. One continued that streak Tuesday night, one didn’t, and the Indians have their first series lead since 1948.

3. Kluber was dominant and set some records. He broke the Indians’ franchise record for strikeouts in a World Series game with nine. He also became the first pitcher in World Series history to strike out eight hitters within the first three innings.

4. On the game’s biggest stage, Kluber responded and then some with one of the best pitching performances in franchise history.

5. “I think every young pitcher, even every professional pitcher, should watch him pitch,” said Andrew Miller. “It’s just a treat. He’s so good. The way he can manipulate the ball is incredible. We’re really lucky to have him on our side because he’s our horse. I’m glad he was able to go out there and set the tone of this series, because that’s big.”

More: Trevor Bauer to start Game 2; Carlos Santana a consideration in left field

6. Six of Kluber’s nine strikeouts came via his two-seamer, which is the same pitch that Trevor Bauer before the game said he loved. That proved to be prophetic, because the Cubs couldn’t hit it Tuesday night.

7. Said Miller, “You could go down the list of pitches he’s got. You pick game-to-game, sometimes you look back and say it was the curveball, it was the two-seamer, it was the cutter, whatever it was. His command is just incredible. His ability to keep guys off balance and off guard is second to none, and he’s got a Cy Young on the mantle to back it up.”

8. Kluber threw 88 pitches, meaning he probably had some left in the tank. Indians manager Terry Francona admitted as much after the game, but they had Miller ready to go. In this sense, Game 1 worked just about perfectly in that Kluber has become even more of an option to start on short rest in Game 4, should the Indians choose to go that route over Ryan Merritt or Danny Salazar.

More from Marla Ridenour: Corey Kluber picks up 'Cleveland Against the World' title torch

9. Said Francona, “You know, you start getting up towards 90, he was going through the middle of the order, that's when you really have to exert. And because we had Miller hot, I thought well, I guess, yeah, you could have your cake and eat it. I guess that is true, yeah, because we're planning on bringing him back. So I didn't want to overextend him.”

10. That’s not a declaration that Kluber would start Game 4 on short rest, but it seems as though that could be the leading option and things could be trending that way. He’s been so dominant this October that it’s hard to argue with that logic.

11. Oh, what a night it was for Roberto Perez. Similar to how Jose Ramirez was viewed as arguably the team’s MVP in the regular season, Perez is having a similar postseason. He’s given the club a value far greater than expected and is a major reason why they’re in the World Series and now ahead 1-0.

12. Perez has guided a banged-up pitching staff to one of the better postseasons as a team in a long time. Whatever offense he contributes is normally just a bonus. In Game 1, he gave a lot.

13. Perez drilled a solo home run off Jon Lester that was a bullet to left field. It had a exit velo of 113 mph, his hardest-hit ball of the season. In the eighth, he crushed a no-doubter three-run shot that made it 6-0.

More from Marla Ridenour: Roberto Perez's two home runs a major step in road back from injury

14. He became the first Indians hitter to blast two home runs in a World Series game—Roberto Perez! He also became the first No. 9 hitter with a multi-home run game in World Series history. He’s applauded for his defense and how he handles the pitching staff on a routine basis. In Game 1, he brought the bat as well.

15. And he also made Francisco Lindor (who had a three-hit game) cry. Said Lindor, “I told him I was proud, how much he’s helping us win. I keep telling him every time, you want to make a name, this is where you do it. He’s stepping up huge. I told him, ‘I’m proud of you man. I’m proud of you.’ I even thanked him. Because the way that he’s doing it for his family, for his city and for Puerto Rico, it’s huge. I almost cried when he hit the home run. He’s one of my buddies on the team. I’m just super happy, super excited for him and his family.”

16. Andrew Miller has been the Indians’ MVP this postseason. Perez hasn’t been far behind. Trevor Bauer said so before the series, before arguably the best offensive game of Perez’s career. The Indians hope to have Yan Gomes fully healthy next season, but Perez is certainly making his case as the best all-around catcher on the roster.

17. Miller, meanwhile, had the same end result but with a little more work attached. Twice, he ran into trouble and twice returned to his untouchable self and escaped the inning. He worked out of a bases-loaded and no outs situation in the seventh, even overcoming a mental lapse on the part of Rajai Davis on what should have been a double play. In the eighth, that trademarked slider that almost seems unfair to hitters kept the Cubs scoreless again.

18. Miller hopes to be sharper in the rest of the series, which is setting the bar to a level very few pitchers in baseball can reach. Said Miller, “It was a grind. I think I can be better than I was but you attribute it to them, the at-bats they put together. I felt like I had some opportunities I just missed on. That’s a credit to their ability to take some pitches and their preparation. We got it done, that’s all that matters. We like where we’re at. Obviously Corey was incredible tonight. I think Roberto Perez was the star of the game. It doesn’t matter how you get there at this point, just try to win games.”

19. Miller threw 46 pitches, which is a fair amount. But on whether he’ll be available in Game 2, his answer was pretty simple: He’s not missing these games.

20. Said Miller, “It’s the World Series. I’ll be ready. I’m going to take advantage of the staff we have here and all the gadgetry we have in the training room to feel good tomorrow. But i’m available. There's no question we're ready to go. The most we can play is six more games and I’l find a way to be a part of them.”

21. The winner of Game 1 has won the last six World Series and 12 of the last 13. If Bauer’s finger can hold up and whether Josh Tomlin can continue his hot streak are valid question marks. But nothing has gotten in their way so far. Tuesday night, between the Cavaliers getting their rings and the Indians hosting their first ever World Series Game 1 was one for the record books.

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Two home runs a major step on Indians catcher Roberto Perez's road back from injury

By Marla Ridenour Published: October 26, 2016

CLEVELAND: When he broke his right thumb in April, Indians catcher Roberto Perez might have felt like his 2016 season was wasted.

But he may be on an emotional path to redemption and stardom in the playoffs.

Perez became the first Indians player to hit two home runs in one World Series game and the first in the majors since Anaheim's Troy Glaus in 2002 as the Indians turned back the Chicago Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Perez's solo shot to left field in the fourth inning off left-hander Jon Lester gave the Tribe a 3-0 lead. Perez put the game away with a three-run blast in the eighth when right-hander Hector Rondon hung a slider.

"I don't think I've ever had a night like that," Perez said.

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Corey Kluber dominates, Roberto Perez has multi-HR night to take Game 1 of World Series 6-0 vs Cubs

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 25, 2016

Corey Kluber took his brilliance on the mound to a new level on the game’s biggest stage and Roberto Perez blasted his way to a multi-home run night, leading the Indians to a 6-0 win against the Chicago Cubs to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series.

Kluber was dominant, putting together one of the best postseason outings in franchise history and racking up strikeouts at a historical rate. In the biggest start of his carer, Kluber threw six scoreless innings while allowing only four hits.

He also struck out nine hitters, an Indians record for a single game in the World Series. He was particularly untouchable early, setting a new World Series record by striking out eight hitters within the first three innings. The previous record was seven, accomplished by Bob Gibson, Orlando Hernandez and Randy Johnson.

Kluber was given an early lead as he worked his way into the history books. The Indians’ offense knocked Cubs Game 1 starting pitcher Jon Lester around early while he struggled with the strike zone. With two outs in the first inning, Francisco Lindor (three hits) singled up the middle. Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana each followed with walks to load the bases.

Jose Ramirez (three hits) gave the Indians the lead with a dribbler up the third-base line that ended up in the perfect spot to which Kris Bryant had no play at any base. Lester then hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch to bring in a second run.

Lester had allowed two earned runs in the entire postseason leading up to Game 1. The Indians matched that in the first inning and then beat it in the fourth, when Roberto Perez hit a laser of a home run that just cleared the wall in left field to extend their lead to 3-0. Perez wasn’t done at the plate.

Andrew Miller relieved Kluber in the seventh with a runner on first and immediately ran into trouble. Miller walked Kyle Schwarber and then allowed a single to Javier Baez to load the bases with nobody out, making it possible for one swing to turn the tide.

Wilson Contreras hit a shallow fly ball to center field that was caught by Davis, who made the out but missed Schwarber straying off second base for what would have been an easy double play. It was no matter. Miller, the ALCS MVP, rebounded to strike out Addison Russell on three pitches. Then, with a full count to David Ross and runners on the move, Miller struck him out as well to end the inning and hold the Indians’ 3-0 advantage.

Miller worked out of trouble again in the eighth. Bryant and Ben Zobrist singled to put runners on the corners with two outs and allow Schwarber to represent the tying run. Again, Miller’s trademarked slider ended the inning and the threat, and he added two more scoreless innings to his trade-validating October.

In the bottom of the eighth, Perez added some more muscle. Normally a defensive-first catcher, Perez crushed his second home run of the night to left field, a three-run shot that put the Indians up 6-0 and all but ended the game. Perez became the first Indians player to hit two home runs in a single World Series game.

And, it all helped to give the Indians their first lead within a World Series since 1948, the last time they won it all.

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Indians fan Tom Hanks goes head-to-head with Cubs fan Stephen Colbert on The Late Show

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 25, 2016

Tom Hanks has made his World Series loyalties well known—he’s all in for the Tribe.

As Hanks signed off on Saturday Night Live this week, he added a “Go Tribe” after naming all those who were a part of the show.

Then, on Monday night, he went head-to-head with noted Cubs fan Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Below is the video.

Hanks’ career in large part began in Cleveland, and he’s held onto the city with fondness ever since. This week, he’s joined the community of Indians fans hoping to see their first World Series title since 1948.

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Leading up to the World Series, Tom Hanks reaffirms love for the Cleveland Indians on 'Colbert'

By Dan Kadar Published: October 25, 2016

Tom Hanks' adoration for the Cleveland Indians extends beyond giving the Tribe a shout on Saturday Night Live.

Hanks was a guest on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on Monday, and got into it with the Cubs-loving Colbert. Even though the bad luck Cubs are getting much of the attention leading up to Game 1 tonight, Hanks doubled down on the Indians.

"You can all stick your pins in me right now," Hanks said. "I know the entire world, and three-legged dogs and orphan children are rooting for the Chicago Cubs. I realize that, but you do not do three long, hot summers Shakespeare in Cleveland blowing time watching the Cleveland Indians play at a park that I swear was called at the time was called Cleveland Municipal Lakefront Stadium.

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