CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians hold a 1-0 lead in the 2016 World Series after Tuesday night’s 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field, and tonight, they have a chance to protect home-field advantage and take a two-game edge in the best-of-seven matchup.
Heading into Game 2, there are three things the Indians need to beat the Cubs: Bauer, bats and bullpen.
BAUER MUST GIVE INDIANS HIS BEST
The Indians were hopeful Trevor Bauer could pitch less than a week after lacerating his right pinkie finger in an accident with his drone, but the opposite proved to be true against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre last Monday night.
With one man on base and two out in the first inning, blood began dripping out of Bauer’s wound, and he was using his jersey and pants in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but when Blue Jays manager John Gibbons walked to home plate to talk with the umpire, a conversation ensued and lasted several minutes.
The Indians’ medical staff attempted to stop the bleeding, but could not, which forced Indians manager Terry Francona to pull Bauer from the game.
Bauer threw just 21 pitches in the game, only nine of which went for strikes.
NEED BATS TO WAKE UP
Although the Indians pounded out 10 hits in their 33 at-bats against the Cubs in Game 1, they had four players, including second baseman Jason Kipnis, as well as the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters -- Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana -- combine to go 0 for 12.
For the Indians to continue being successful, they must follow the blueprint that has gotten them to this point in the postseason, where a different player has emerged nearly every night to carry the load.
In the Game 1 win, catcher Roberto Perez had himself a memorable World Series debut.
Perez went two for four with the two home runs and four runs batted in, while shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez each collected three hits in four plate appearances against the Cubs. Perez was the first Indians player ever to hit two home runs in a World Series game.
BULLPEN TO CONTINUE EXTENDED WORK
Indians reliever Andrew Miller was the ALCS Most Valuable Player after registering 14 strikeouts over 7.2 innings of work in four appearances in the five-game battle against the Blue Jays.
And Miller, a mid-season trade acquisition from the New York Yankees, has pitched everywhere in the game from the fifth to the ninth innings, including registering his first career postseason save.
Francona pulled starter Corey Kluber with one on and no out in the top of seventh inning of Game 1 and went to 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.
Then, closer Cody Allen came in and struck out three batters in the top of the ninth inning to lock down the Game 1 win.