Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World Series Game 2: Indians Spoil No-Hitter and Cut Cubs’ Lead to 5-1 by Benjamin Hoffman and David Waldstein

Top of 7th: Indians’ Bullpen Gets In and Out of Trouble

Jeff Manship entered the game as Cleveland’s fifth pitcher of the night and started things off with a walk to Willson Contreras. That brought up the struggling Jason Heyward, and while the box score says Heyward recorded an out, the big outfielder’s hard-hit ball to the outfield had to be encouraging for him following a difficult first year in Chicago.

The Indians then tried to get fancy on a ground ball from Addison Russell and it backfired. Shortstop Francisco Lindor made a diving stop and tried to flip it to Jason Kipnis at second base from behind his back to try and start a double play. The flip was well out of Kipnis’s reach, and the second baseman was saddled with an error for his trouble. Dexter Fowler loaded the bases with his first hit of the series and that was it for Manship, who was relieved by Dan Otero having recorded just one out while allowing three baserunners.

Asked to work out of a terrible jam, Otero immediately got a ground ball to third-base from Kris Bryant to erase the run at home. Otero then got Anthony Rizzo to fly out to left to end the inning.
David Waldstein: Before people start claiming Kipnis, a former Cubs fan from Northbrook, Ill., is subconsciously trying to help his former favorite team end their 108-year jinx, remember he got the first hit off of Arrieta, a hustling double, and scored Cleveland’s only run. Not that anyone would say that with any level of seriousness. The good news for the Indians is that Kipnis’s ankle seems to be fine. The bad news is that he is having trouble catching the ball. Maybe he sprained his glove, too.

Bottom of 6th: Arrieta’s No-Hitter, and Night, Are Over

Jake Arrieta’s pursuit of the third no-hitter in postseason history ended when Jason Kipnis hit a one-out double up the middle. Two batters later the Indians scored the team’s first run of the game when a wild pitch allowed Kipnis to score.

After the wild pitch and a single by Mike Napoli, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon pulled Arrieta in favor of Mike Montgomery.

While thoughts of Arrieta joining Don Larsen and Roy Halladay in the history books were fun, it was unlikely he would have been allowed to go the distance. His pitch-count when he was pulled was already at 98. Montgomery needed just two pitches to end the inning, getting Jose Ramirez to ground out, ending the modest rally.

Top of 6th: Cleveland Bullpen Holds On

Danny Salazar became Cleveland’s fourth pitcher of the night, and the right-hander got off to a good start by getting Kris Bryant to line out to center and Anthony Rizzo to ground out to first. He got into a jam by issuing consecutive walks to Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber, but he wriggled out of the inning by inducing a popup to center from Javier Baez. The Cleveland bullpen is getting a lot of work in tonight.

David Waldstein: Attendance is announced as 38,172. A lot of them are Cubs fans. The rest are cold and miserable, since the Indians don’t have a hit and Jake Arrieta has faced only three batters above the minimum.

Things are looking good for Chicago. The last time the Cubs won a World Series game was Game 6 in 1945 (they lost Game 7 when Hal Newhouser threw a complete game for the Detroit Tigers). Skeeter Webb, Dizzy Trout and Peanuts Lowrey went a combined 1 for 10 for both teams in that game. Coco Crisp could have played in that game.

Bottom of 5th: Indians Still Hitless Against Arrieta

Jake Arrieta got a quick first out on a liner from Coco Crisp and then struck out Tyler Naquin. Roberto Perez, the hero of Game 1, put a charge into the ball, but Ben Zobrist caught it near the wall to end the inning and preserve the no-hitter. After entering the game as a pinch-runner for Jorge Soler in the top-half of the inning, the struggling Jason Heyward stayed in to play right field. Considering his gigantic contract, it would be good for Heyward to chip in on offense as well.

David Waldstein: Arrieta is pitching like it is 2015, or at least the first half of 2016. I know he was not at his best down the stretch, but Arrieta is a great choice to pitch on the road. Over the last two seasons he is 24-4 away from Wrigley Field, and yes, records do matter for starting pitchers when the numbers are that prominent. Last year he was 13-1 on the road with a 1.60 earned run average.
Cleveland still doesn’t have a hit. Arrieta is putting the ball on the corners with late movement and a lot of heat. How do you hit that? He’s thrown 79 pitches through five innings.

Cleveland fans here have almost nothing to cheer, but they were jazzed up to see members of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in their usual luxury box showing off their brand new championship rings. I saw J.R. Smith and Kevin Love. I think LeBron is also here, somewhere, too. Maybe he could get a hit off of Arrieta.

Top of 5th: Cubs’ Bats Give Arrieta Some Breathing Room

The Cubs are continuing to pile on in support of Jake Arrieta’s masterpiece.
Zach McCallister started off the inning with his second consecutive strikeout, but Anthony Rizzo was able to draw a one-out walk. Ben Zobrist made McAllister pay for it by driving a ball to the right-field wall that Lonnie Chisenhall fell down trying to corral. Rizzo scored all the way from first and Zobrist slid into third for a triple, ending McAllister’s day.

Bryan Shaw came on in relief to face Kyle Schwarber and Schwarber delivered once again, with a single that brought Zobrist home, stretching the lead to 4-0 with Cleveland having recorded just one out.

Shaw struck out Javier Baez for the second out of the inning but Jason Kipnis bobbled a grounder from Willson Contreras that allowed the Cubs’ catcher to reach first base. With runners at first and third, Jorge Soler walked to load the bases and then Shaw walked Addison Russell to force in a run, pushing the score to 5-0. Luckily for Shaw, the next batter was the struggling Dexter Fowler, who struck out swinging, and extended his hitless streak in the series to eight at-bats.

David Waldstein: Kyle Schwarber cannot be stopped. The question is, can he possibly play in the outfield when the series moves to National League park Wrigley Field? I would think not because of his surgically repaired knee. But his bat is such a weapon, it may be tempting for the Cubs to play him. They already took a chance by putting him on the World Series roster, but playing him in the outfield is kind of pushing it.

Now, let’s see if the Indians can get a hit. That would be a good place for them to start.

Bottom of 4th: Arrieta Stays Hot With No Sleeves

It has been four innings and Cleveland has yet to get a hit against the pitcher who is the best in the majors at not allowing them. Arrieta, in short sleeves, pitched to Francisco Lindor, who was not only wearing a hood but also had his mouth and nose covered. The extra warmth didn’t matter, with Arrieta getting Lindor with a called strike three. Mike Napoli was next, and he flied out weakly to center. Jose Ramirez walked, but Arrieta got Lonnie Chisenhall to pop out to end the inning.
Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters in his career and has led the majors in fewest hits allowed per nine innings in each of the last two seasons.

Top of 4th: Francona Turns to Indians’ Bullpen

With Cleveland’s bullpen already stirring, Willson Contreras led off the inning for Chicago with a walk. Trevor Bauer got some good luck when Jorge Soler grounded to the hole between first and second, but Jason Kipnis was able to field the ball and start a double-play to erase Contreras. Addison Russell singled and that was enough for Terry Francona, who pulled Bauer in favor of Zach McAllister.

McAllister, a former prospect as a starter who has settled into a role as a decent reliever for the Indians, struck out Dexter Fowler to end the inning.

David Waldstein: Not a great outing by Bauer. He clearly didn’t have the feel on his pitches, and that kind of pitch count is not helpful — 87 pitches in three and two-thirds innings. By comparison, Greg Maddux threw a complete game against the Cubs in 1997 (the year the Indians last went to the World Series). Maddux hit double figures in pitches in only two innings in that game.

Bottom of 3rd: Arrieta Handles Perez and Santana

After clubbing two home runs in his first World Series game, Roberto Perez showed bunt on Jake Arrieta’s first pitch to him, but he pulled the bat back and ended up striking out in an eight-pitch at-bat. Carlos Santana worked a full-count but also struck out on a ball he felt was out of the strike zone. Jason Kipnis ended the inning with a fly ball to left and Arrieta has now retired seven consecutive batters.

David Waldstein: The pace of this game is not great in terms of avoiding the rain that is supposedly on its way. But we may avoid it, anyway. It is pretty chilly, about 43 degrees, but the latest weather reports say there is supposedly zero percent chance of rain through 10 p.m. Eastern time, and only a 25 percent chance of rain through 11 p.m.

Top of 3rd: Cubs Happy to Have Schwarber Back

The incredible comeback story of Kyle Schwarber continues: He did not have a hit in the regular season, but as the Cubs’ designated hitter he drove in a run with a single to increase the Cubs’ lead to 2-0.

It looked like Trevor Bauer had calmed down, and was going to have an easy inning, but then his lack of control extended the inning and also increased Cleveland’s deficit. Facing the top of the order, Bauer got a quick out on a grounder to second from Dexter Fowler, who is now 0 for 6 in the series. He then played with fire, hanging a curveball to Kris Bryant, but got away with it when the slugging third baseman lined out to shortstop.

With two outs, Bauer froze Anthony Rizzo with a pair of nasty curveballs that had the big first baseman buckling at the knees, but then he simply lost control of the at-bat, and threw four consecutive balls to send Rizzo to first. Ben Zobrist followed Rizzo with a single and then Schwarber singled to score Rizzo.

David Waldstein: Activating Kyle Schwarber for the World Series after a major knee injury in April might go down as one of the best roster transactions of the postseason. He singled in a run, and then yelled an expletive at his bench after getting on base. Oh, these ballplayers.

This is definitely going to become a bullpen game for the Indians. Bauer’s pinkie doesn’t seem to be bleeding but he has thrown 71 pitches already. The Indians had Zach McAllister and Jeff Manship warming in the last inning. Remember, Danny Salazar is down there, too.

Bottom of 2nd: Arrieta Cruises

Things were awfully quiet for the Cleveland offense. Jake Arrieta only needed two pitches to retire Lonnie Chisenhall and got Coco Crisp to line out to Javier Baez for the second out. Tyler Naquin worked into a full-count but he struck out swinging to end the inning.

David Waldstein: After Andrew Miller threw 46 pitches in Game 1 there were questions about whether he could pitch in Game 2. He is available tonight, but we don’t know how much. He could be used for one batter — maybe to face Anthony Rizzo or Kyle Schwarber at a critical juncture.
Speaking of Miller, before the game he was asked about being used in specific roles and he said that when he was with the Yankees. When Aroldis Chapman returned from his suspension, Manager Joe Girardi’s handling of it was confusing for Miller and Dellin Betances.

“I know when Chapman came back this year Dellin and I were kind of up in the air about which order we would pitch,” he said. “And in some instances it created a mess because we were both warming up next to each other. I think all managers, like Joe, Tito, I’ve been lucky to have some that really handle the bullpen well. But you hate to have two guys warming up at the same time. It seems wasteful, in a sense.”

Top of 2nd: Bauer Working Hard For Outs

Javier Baez got the inning started by hitting a chopper to third base that Jose Ramirez couldn’t bare-hand on a bad hop. It will look like a line drive in the box score as Baez reached first for a single. But Trevor Bauer was unfazed, getting fly-outs from Willson Contreras, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell to end the inning. Bauer has continued to have to work hard for every out, and is up to 51 pitches in just two innings of work.
David Waldstein: The Cubs’ run in the first inning broke a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless innings by Cleveland pitchers. That’s how you go 8-1 in the postseason. Bauer settled into a better vibe in the second, but he is still having trouble with his curveball. He is either hanging them or not getting it over for strikes. Wonder if the pinkie is a problem with his curveball grip. He threw 22 pitches in the second and is at 51 through 2 innings. That could become a factor.
Bauer walked 70 batters this year and a league-high 79 the year before. So, the Cubs could look to be aggressive on the first pitch, but then be patient after that, get men on base and then do some real damage.

Bottom of 1st: Arrieta Tough, but Wild

Jake Arrieta was looking the part of the tough guy to start the game, going with short sleeves in the cold and rainy weather while Javier Baez stood at second base with a hood pulled up under his hat. Things got off to a good start for Arrieta, with two quick outs, but then he seemed to lose his command, walking both Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli. At one point he threw six consecutive pitches well outside the strike zone, continuing the struggles he had with command this season.
With two on and two out, Jose Ramirez hit a ball deep to center field, but it fell into Tyler Naquin’s glove to end the inning without any actual damage done.

Top of 1st: Rizzo Gets Cubs Started

It was Chicago’s turn to get off to a fast start.
Game 2 began with a first-pitch ball from Trevor Bauer to Dexter Fowler. Two pitches later Bauer got the Cubs’ leadoff hitter to hit a broken bat grounder to the mound for the first out of the game. But Kris Bryant, who was hitless in Game 1, got things started with a single and Anthony Rizzo followed that up by crushing a liner to right field that gave Bryant plenty of time to score from first, with Rizzo getting into second base easily for a double.
Ben Zobrist flied out and Bauer struck out Kyle Schwarber to get out of the jam.
Bauer, who typically labors quite a bit to get outs even when he is pitching well, threw 29 pitches in the inning — including 10 in Zobrist’s at-bat — and if early going was any indication, Cleveland may be going to the bullpen early.

David Waldstein: Trevor Bauer actually made it through the first inning, but only barely.
Bauer was not sharp in that inning, but perhaps that was to be expected. He has only thrown two-thirds of an inning (his aborted A.L.C.S. start) since Oct. 6. That’s nearly three weeks without being on the mound in a game.

Here’s What to Expect in Game 2

■ The game was moved up an hour (7:08 p.m. ET) due to rain in the forecast. A cold, rainy night is good news for pitchers, as hitters prefer it to be dry and warm. The tables could turn if there is a rain delay while the starting pitchers are still in, because resuming throwing after more than 30 or 40 minutes is not generally advisable. Postseason rules require the game to be played to completion, so if the teams are not able to finish nine innings, they will have to come back tomorrow on what was planned to be a day off.

■ The Cubs need Jake Arrieta to pitch like the 2015 version of Jake Arrieta. On paper, Arrieta has the advantage over Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer, who has a 5.06 earned-run average in two postseason starts and had a 5.36 E.R.A. after the All-Star break.

■ Bauer, who injured his pinkie finger in a drone accident, says the digit is fine and he is ready to pitch. Bauer also said he was fine before he pitched in Game 3 of the A.L.C.S., and he did not make it out of the first inning before blood started oozing out of the cut. He threw to batters on Monday without problem, but he wore a tight bandage around the pinkie, and by rule he cannot do that in the game.

■ Kyle Schwarber may have some rust after a long layoff — as evidenced by some creative baserunning during the game — but his bat is still potent, as he just missed homering off Corey Kluber on a night in which none of his teammates could do any damage. He became the first player ever to have his first hit of the season come in the World Series, and he will get another chance to serve as the designated hitter in Game 2.

■ The Indians can’t expect Roberto Perez (2 home runs) to carry the offense for a second consecutive game. They’ll need Jason Kipnis, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, who combined to go 0 for 10 with 3 walks, to have more of an impact.

■ No one should ever assume Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller is not available, but the Indians may have to be conservative with him. The tall lefty with the wicked slider struggled a little in Game 1, and threw 46 pitches in two innings of hard work. The last time he threw that many? A start he had for the Red Sox in September of 2011. — Benjamin Hoffman

What Happens If There’s Rain?

Major League Baseball was hoping to play and complete Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, but rain threatened to disrupt the game and the scheduling for the rest of the series.

A light drizzle fell throughout the day in Cleveland, but forecasts predicted conditions would clear by first pitch at 7:08 p.m. However, more rain was predicted for later in the evening.

That could result in a lengthy delay and the possibility of a suspension and resumption of play on Thursday, evoking memories of issues that emerged in the 2008 World Series between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.

“The plan is to play the game, right now,” Peter Woodfork, the senior vice president of baseball operations at Major League Baseball, said Wednesday afternoon. “If something happens and we need to come back tomorrow, it’s unfortunate, and we don’t want that to happen, but realistically we can’t control the weather.”

In the postseason, all games that are suspended will be resumed at the point of the delay and nine innings must be played, unlike in the regular season.

But weather forecasts for Cleveland were not good for Thursday, either, meaning a suspended game might not be resumed until Friday. That is when Game 3 is scheduled to be played in Chicago. If that happens, then all three games in Chicago would have to be moved back a day, as well.

In Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia, play continued with the Phillies leading by a run, 2-1, after five innings amid heavy downpours. Theoretically, the game could have been delayed, and then called in favor of the Phillies as a rain-shortened game that would have given them the championship.

However, Bud Selig, the commissioner at the time, ruled that he would not allow a game that could decide the World Series to be called before nine innings were played, even though that stipulation had not yet been codified into the rule book.

But after the World Series, baseball modified the rule to insure that every postseason game had to go the full nine innings.

In 2011, the rule was applied for the only time when Game 1 of a division series between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers was suspended after the top of the second with the score tied at 1-1.

The game was completed the next day with Ivan Nova of the Yankees and Doug Fister of the Tigers basically acting as starting pitchers, even though they were technically pitching in relief. The Yankees had the unusual experience of batting first at home when play resumed because it was actually the bottom of the second.

The Yankees won that game, 9-3, but lost the series in five games. — David Waldstein

Trevor Bauer and the Drone

Cleveland Manager Tito Francona laughed it off, saying jokingly, “Probably everybody in here probably at some point or another had a drone-related problem.” Bauer even brought his drone to the off-day news conference and assured the news media that his finger was fine.Yet he was forced from Game 3 after facing only four batters because his cut opened and blood visibly seeped out of the wound. Now Bauer is back on the mound for Game 2 of the World Series, and the Indians are hoping to avoid another gruesome occurrence. Bauer, who was a mechanical engineering major at U.C.L.A., is passionate about building and flying drones. He has visited with the robotics team at Max Hayes High School in Cleveland and even entered his first drone race while in Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Twins.

He often brings his drones with him on road trips and visits local parks to fly them. Once, he got his drone stuck in a tree in Kansas City while there to play the Royals. He took to Twitter for advice, but nothing worked until members of the Royals’ clubhouse staff had to the idea to attach fishing wire to a baseball and knock it down.”I’d rather be known as a nerd than an athlete,” he told a reporter. — Melissa Hoppert


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