OSS: Cubs hang on to send the series back to Cleveland.
- Aroldis Chapman was the Cubs WPA leader (.404), and it’s not even close. Chapman slammed the door on the Indians, pitching 2.2 innings and striking out four. As has been well documented doing this is way out of his comfort zone, but you couldn’t tell tonight. There’s going to be all sorts of records broken for relief pitching contracts in a few months (dying laughing). Hopefully he’s good to go for more on Tuesday, thought probably not for nearly three innings.
- Kris Bryant broke out of his slump with a line drive home run in the third inning that got the Cubs rally going.
- Rizzo had a nice game as well, just missing going back to back with Bryant in the third and scoring on Russell’s infield single.
- Addison Russell had two hits, and great contact on at least one of the hundreds of lineouts to RF the Cubs have drawn up this series. His weakest hit ball was the most important one, because that’s the way this series has gone (dying laughing). He drove in Rizzo for the Cubs second run.
- David Ross just missed on connecting with a grand slam that would have brought the house down in his final game at Wrigley, but his sac fly ended up being the deciding run.
- Heyward struck out in his first three PAs, but made a great defensive play and made some action on the basepaths in the eighth while the Cubs tried to tack on some insurance. Too bad it was Chapman at the plate.
- The last three innings took so many years off my life that I completely forgot that Jon Lester was dealing today. He came out strong, getting tons of whiffs while striking out the side in the first. Aside from a random solo shot he was cruising all the way to the fifth, where he worked around a leadoff double and got burned by a stolen base in the sixth. Still, a fantastic performance all around.
- Javy looked completely lost at the plate, striking out on pitches that crossed the plate in Milwaukee. He did have a slick bunt single though, and we got our requisite JavyTag. Still, I wish Joe had put Schwarber in for him when he came up in the eighth.
- I could list like fifteen other tactical things here for Maddon, who overmanaged the hell out of this game. But at least he made sure to lean on his best relief pitcher. Scan through the game thread for all of them, I’m too lazy to lay them out here. Or don’t, I can’t tell you what to do.
Next up: The season lives on with game six in Cleveland, and we get bonus happy bafflement at seeing Kyle Schwarber at the plate. Jake Arrieta takes on Josh Tomlin at 7 pm CT. Hopefully the Cubs don’t make him look like Cy Young again.