Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer‘s sliced pinky held up, but his overall pitching performance didn’t and the Cubs took Game Two of the World Series 5-1 at Progressive Field on Wednesday night.
During a chilly and gloomy night with the threat of incoming rain, Chicago dampened the spirits of the Tribe faithful as the Cubs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Bauer was not sharp and lasted only 3.2 innings, running his pitch count to over 70 in only three innings. Credit goes to the Cub hitters who, in addition to sparking 6 hits and 2 runs against Bauer, fouled off at least 15 pitches with 2 strikes to make the Indians’ hurler work hard for mediocrity.
With Bauer’s night cut short, six relievers also made appearances. The most notable was the return of Danny Salazar out of the bullpen, pitching for the first time since his most recent stint on the DL dating back to mid-September. Salazar pitched one full inning, not surprisingly showing a little rust on his command as he walked two. But he didn’t give up any hits or runs.
The fifth inning was the main undoing of the Tribe in this game. Already down by 2 runs, Zach McAllister struck out Kris Bryant to start the inning. But then he walked Anthony Rizzo and gave up a triple to Ben Zobrist and a single to Kyle Schwarber (who had 2 RBI in this contest and continued an impressive comeback after missing virtually all of the regular season with an injury). Bryan Shaw came in to strike out the next batter. Then an uncharacteristic error by Jason Kipnis on a routine grounder (the first error committed by the Tribe in the post-season) extended the inning. Shaw walked two batters to force in another run before striking out Dexter Fowler to end the frustrating frame.
It could have been worse. Tribe pitchers walked 8 batters and the Cubs stranded 13 runners.
Meanwhile, the Cubs’ starter — reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta — had a no-hitter going through 5.1 innings. The Tribe finally broke through for their only run after Arrieta surrendered a double to Kipnis in the fifth inning, who later advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a fielder’s choice. Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman relieved Arrieta as the Cubs gave up only 4 hits on the night. Indian hitters struck out a total of 12 times.
So the Series is even as it moves to the not-so-friendly confines for opposing teams at Wrigley Field. Josh Tomlin is scheduled to start on Friday for the Indians against Kyle Hendricks, who led the Majors during the regular season for lowest ERA. The Indians have been resilient when facing adversity all season. Let’s hope it continues in Chicago. This Series has a long way to go. Go Tribe!