The last two games haven’t worked out very well for the Cleveland Indians. After surging to a 3-1 lead in the World Series — and being a tantalizing one game away from the World Series title that has eluded the Tribe since 1948 — the Indians lost a close game in Chicago and then had a train wreck last night in Cleveland.
So now the Series is knotted, 3-3, and tonight’s game will determine the champion. After the last two games, Chicago Cubs players and fans have regained their swagger and are expecting to be the first team in years to win after trailing 3-1. Tribe fans, on the other hand, are hoping that a team that has been riddled with injuries to key players can somehow win just one, last game.
Tonight Cleveland will be banking on pitcher Corey Kluber — known to some as “Klubot” because of his unchanging expression and apparently unflappable demeanor. The hope is that Kluber can hold the Cubs’ powerful lineup in check and the Indians’ struggling hitters can produce enough runs to get a lead, and the bullpen can eke out a win and finally get Cleveland that long-dreamed-of World Series title.
Kluber has pitched brilliantly in the playoffs and in the Series so far, but he’s pitching for the second time in a row on three days’ rest. That means he won’t be following his normal routine, and it also means that Chicago batters will be facing him for the third time in only a few days. They’ll be looking to make adjustments in how they approach Kluber in view of those two very recent experiences — and we’ve seen in the Series, and in last night’s game particularly, that the Cubs are perfectly capable of changing their approach to Cleveland pitchers.
It’s a lot of pressure to put on Corey Kluber, with the hopes and fervent aspirations of generations of long-disappointed fans riding on his arm — but we hope that, if anyone can handle that pressure, it is the calm, cool, and collected “Klubot.” Go Tribe!