CLEVELAND -- The Chicago Cubs have not had much success against Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber in his previous two World Series starts, but they believe the third time will be the charm in Game 7 tonight.
Despite scoring just one earned run and smacking nine hits against Kluber over 12 innings in two starts, the Cubs believe his best is behind him and they will be able to better locate his pitches and close out their first World Series Championship since 1908.
“I think guys are making adjustments,” Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said. “Yes, you're going to stay in your game and your game plan. You know what you do best, but at the end of the day, if you see these guys from the other team, their arms, you see them enough. You see what they're trying to do to you, what they're trying to attack you with. You have to make adjustments, in game or before and after games.
“We’ve already seen them a little bit. I think you saw it in Game 4. We made some adjustments with Kluber there. Guys aren't going to make adjustments in their swings necessarily, but maybe their approach and pitches they're looking for, those kind of things.”
The Indians rode Kluber’s solid pitching and timely hitting to beat the Cubs, 7-2, in Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field last Saturday night.
Over six innings of work, Kluber allowed just five hits, one walk and one earned run against six strikeouts. Kluber found a way to strand five Cubs runners and registered his first postseason hit in the top of the second inning.
During five postseason starts, Kluber has registered 35 strikeouts against eight walks and allowed just three earned runs over 30.1 innings of work. Kluber has a 4-1 postseason record, with one win each against the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the Blue Jays in the Championship Series, and two against the Cubs.
Although Hendricks acknowledged very few players could do what Kluber is going to, starting three games in nine days, but with Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup once again after not being able to play except in a pinch-hit role in the games at Wrigley Field, the Game 7 starter is confident Chicago can break their 108-year drought.
“We love having him in there,” Hendricks said of Schwarber. “Obviously, there were some questions before the start of the series with him, but we saw what he did in Games 1 and 2, the way he swung the bat, the at-bats he put together. So we love being back here and having him here in the lineup. It's a huge weapon for us.”