Cubs Return to Cleveland, Site of Their Epic World Series Win

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 23, 2018 5:03 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 5:03 PM UTC

Terrific but quick interleague series begins Tuesday night in Cleveland as the Chicago Cubs return to the site of their 2016 World Series championship.

Chicago Cubs at Cleveland IndiansFree MLB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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What’s the most memorable/most important baseball game in your lifetime? The answer for me is easy: Game 7 of the 2016 World Series when the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year title drought in an absolute epic in Cleveland. The two teams start an interleague series at Progressive Field on Tuesday night (6:10 ET) on the MLB Network (some markets).

On Nov. 2, 2016, the Cubs and Indians played that Game 7 of the Fall Classic, with the Cubs having rallied from a 3-1 series deficit. That game looked over with Chicago leading 6-3 entering the bottom of the eighth. However, the Indians tied it with one of the most dramatic homers in MLB history, a two-run shot by Rajai Davis off Cubs fire-balling All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman. You could see that clearly took the wind out of the Cubs’ sails and they were frankly lucky there was a brief rain delay in the 10th inning.

That delay allowed the Cubs to regroup a bit – aided by a speech in the clubhouse from Jason Heyward – and they scored two in the top of the 10th and hung on for an 8-7 victory to end the franchise’s amazing championship drought. Who has gone the longest without a title now? None other than the Indians. Chapman is no longer with the Cubs; he went back to the Yankees. Davis is still with the Tribe but doesn’t play every day.

Because this interleague game is in the AL park, the Cubs add the designated hitter. That surely will be Kyle Schwarber because he’s such a poor defensive left fielder. Ben Zobrist likely slides to left. Maybe Ian Happ. Will the Cubbies have former NL MVP and third baseman Kris Bryant in the lineup? He was scarily hit in the head by a fastball from Colorado’s German Marquez on Sunday. He did pass initial concussion tests but that doesn’t necessarily mean Bryant is in the clear yet. He also has a laceration over his eye. Bryant is hitting .319 on the young season with two homers, 11 RBIs and an excellent on-base percentage of .467. Some think Joe Maddon should hit Bryant leadoff. Happ failed miserably in that role to start the season.

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Probable Pitchers: Chatwood vs. Tomlin

It’s free-agent addition Tyler Chatwood, who was with the Rockies when the Cubs won the World Series. Chatwood (0-3, 4.60) hasn’t been great thus far. He lasted just 4.2 innings last time out vs. the Cardinals, allowing just one hit but two runs and walking a whopping seven. Out of the first 11 batters he faced, 10 either walked or struck out. He also issued six free passes in his Chicago debut and has walked 14 in 15.2 innings. That’s not a recipe for success.

Only a few Indians have seen Chatwood in a regular-season game. Yonder Alonso is 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs. Michael Brantley is 0-for-5. Cleveland is 22-7 in its last 29 home games vs. a right-handed starter.

It’s Josh Tomlin (0-2, 8.00) for Cleveland. He pitched twice in the 2016 Fall Classic, shutting out the Cubs over 4.2 innings in a Game 3 start at Wrigley Field (Indians would win 1-0) but then getting raked for six runs in 2.1 innings of a Game 6 loss. Tomlin has been dealing with some back troubles this year but threw on the side Saturday and said he was good to go. He most recently pitched an inning of relief in Minnesota last Wednesday, allowing a run on three hits vs. the Twins.

Tomlin has never faced the Cubs in a regular-season game. The only Chicago player to have faced him in one is Zobrist, who is an ugly 2-for-19 with three strikeouts. So maybe he won’t play left field. The Cubbies have lost their past four Tuesday games.

  • Over is 4-0 in Cubs’ last 4 interleague games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Over is 5-2 in Indians’ last 7 interleague home games vs. a team with a winning record.

Not particularly high on either pitcher so the ‘over’ looks to be the smart bet for a Tuesday MLB pick. Plus, the Cubs add that extra bat even if Bryant has to sit Tuesday. Small lean on the money line to Cleveland.

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