CLEVELAND -- The Chicago Cubs may be down after their 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series, but they are far from out in the best-of-seven matchup between the champions of the National and American leagues.
After guiding his team to a Major League-best 103 wins during the regular season, Cubs manager Joe Maddon believes his players will be fine against the Indians.
“Listen, I’m not upset whatsoever,” Maddon said. “They pitched really well. Jonny (Lester) wasn’t on top of his game, but really gave us a chance to win. That first inning was unfortunate. Those three runs in the last inning make it look really awful, that six.
“I have no concerns. I thought we were ready to play. Our guys looked really good. They were great in the dugout. It’s the first game. I’m fine. We’re fine.”
Indians manager Terry Francona pulled starting pitcher Corey Kluber with one on and no out in the top of seventh inning and went to the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series, left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.
Miller promptly surrendered a walk and a single to left field, which loaded the bases with no out, but that is when the hard-throwing reliever found his command and settled in against the Cubs. After a short fly out to center field, Miller struck out shortstop Addison Russell and catcher David Ross swinging to leave the bases loaded and keep the Indians in front by a 3-0 count.
Miller again worked around a jam in the top of the eighth inning when he struck out designated hitter Kyle Schwarber swinging with runners on first and third and two outs.
“I liked our at-bats overall against Miller,” Maddon said. “I liked the fact that we got him up to 50 pitches also. There were a lot of positives with that. We struck out a lot, but I’ll defend the fact that we had some good at-bats.
“We had some opportunities. We were just unable to obviously get the big hit and knock the run in, but saw a lot of pitches. Kluber was outstanding, but I thought we did a good job against Miller.”
Outside of Ben Zobrist’s three-for-four performance, the Cubs’ two through six hitters went two for 14 against the Indians’ combination of Kluber, Miller and closer Cody Allen in the Game 1 loss.
Third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo went hitless in seven official at-bats.
“If we can continue to work these same kind of at-bats, I feel good moving forward,” Maddon said. “And that’s not to denigrate anybody we’re going to face. I just thought we actually did better than that all looked, so I’m eager to get back out there and play again.”