CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs are tied a 1-1 in the 2016 World Series heading into tonight’s Game 3 matchup at Wrigley Field on the north side of the Windy City, and that means the first team to win three more games will win the Fall Classic.
Coming off of a 5-1 loss to the Cubs in Game 2 at Progressive Field Wednesday, here are four things the Indians need to win Game 3 and take a two-games-to-one lead.
EMBRACE RAUCOUS ENVIRONMENT
There have been plenty of playoff games and championships won by Chicago sports teams in last 30 years, but while celebrations for the White Sox, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks were festive, the expected crowd for Game 3 of the World Series is something altogether different.
With Chicago’s north-side team hosting a World Series game for the first time since 1945, the Indians are expecting a raucous atmosphere at Wrigley Field.
“It's going to be unbelievable,” Indians infielder/designated hitter Mike Napoli said. “Going into this, watching the National League play, I wanted to play against the Cubs because I knew the atmosphere would be unbelievable. Early in my career, I got to come here and just so much history. It's a park you want to come to and play.
“I watched when they clinched to go to the World Series and how crazy it was and seeing the fans in the streets where they had to have police escorts. You could just see the crowd just part ways, so it's going to be fun. It's something that I wanted to be a part of, and thought that it would be an unbelievable World Series.”
TOMLIN OF THE POSTSEASON
Nearly two months ago, Indians pitcher Josh Tomlin found himself out of the starting rotation after a string of rough outings in August, but now, he will take the ball in the most critical game of the season.
Tomlin will start against the Cubs tonight, and will do so with the opportunity to pitch the Indians back into the lead in the best-of-seven matchup against the National League Champions.
In two postseason starts, Tomlin has allowed just seven hits and three earned runs with 10 strikeouts against three walks and no home runs surrendered over 10.2 innings of work. During the regular season, Tomlin allowed 36 home runs and 85 earned runs over 174.0 innings.
The Indians suffered just their second loss of the postseason on Wednesday night. However, because of the close-knit nature of the clubhouse, manager Terry Francona believes the team will respond well after their first home loss of the playoffs.
“We're fine,” Francona said. “I mean, winning's hard, especially against these guys. Losing a game is not going to change who we are or my feelings about them. I love going through this with those guys, even on tough nights.
“We do this together. When they don't necessarily play their best game, it's not time to point a finger at somebody or something. Shoot, I'll share in the struggles with them because it's us together.”
LINDOR TO BE HIMSELF
The Indians took their time in developing shortstop Francisco Lindor, and they are reaping the benefits of their patience during the postseason.
The 22-year old Lindor collected 13 hits in 38 postseason at-bats, including three doubles and two home runs with four runs scored and four RBI in matchups against the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Cubs.
In the sweep of the Red Sox in the American League Division Series, Lindor registered three hits in 12 at-bats with one double, one home run, one run scored and an RBI.
Lindor followed that up with a stellar performance in the American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays. He collected seven hits, including another double and homer, with two runs scored and three RBI in 19 trips to the plate.