It's really this simple: Beat Corey Kluber in Game 4 tonight and the Cubs have favorable pitching matchups in Games 5 and 6, which would give them an excellent chance of winning the World Series.
Weather conditions will be different tonight than they were for Game 3. By game time the wind should be blowing in off Lake Michigan, theoretically making things better for pitchers, although you couldn't have had fewer runs scored in a game than the 1-0 Game 3 we had with the wind blowing out.
The last time the Cubs got shut out this postseason, they came back with a 10-run explosion the next day. I'm certainly not expecting that against Kluber, but this team has a lot of good hitters that have to break through eventually.
Ceremonial duties for Game 4:
National Anthem: John Vincent
God Bless America: Julianna Zobrist
Ceremonial first pitch: Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins
7th-inning stretch: Vince Vaughn
One final note on Game 3:
Soler would have had to run 62 feet in 3.4 sec to prevent Crisp hit. Even B.Hamilton would have a hard time w that: https://t.co/RRnYLUCeJ0— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 29, 2016
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Contreras C, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Lackey P
Here is your #Cubs starting lineup for #WorldSeries Game 4.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 29, 2016
Game preview: https://t.co/PJXzoSmWZi #FlyTheW pic.twitter.com/flUHqQmD7r
Davis LF, Kipnis 2B, Lindor SS, Santana 1B, Ramirez 3B, Chisenhall RF, Perez C, Naquin CF, Kluber P
Game 4. https://t.co/ILxCJcnquB#RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/G3TQqtt9fU— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 29, 2016
John Lackey famously said earlier this summer: "I didn't come here for a haircut, I came for jewelry."
Now it's his turn to step up and help the Cubs get those rings. Lackey turned 38 six days ago and, honestly, hasn't really been sharp since he returned from a shoulder issue that forced him to miss a couple of starts in late August. His September was decent, nothing special (3.00 ERA, 1.133 WHIP) and he has not gotten out of the fifth inning in either of his October starts, with part of that issue being command (five walks and a HPB in eight total innings).
Again, it's just this simple: He's going to have to be better than that.
Corey Kluber has not allowed a run in three of his four postseason starts, including World Series Game 1 against the Cubs.
The only runs he did allow were in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays -- the only time this postseason he's gone on three days' rest. The Cubs can hope that having seen him in Game 1, plus the short rest, will allow them to hit Kluber. They did well the last time they saw a pitcher for the second time in a postseason series -- against Clayton Kershaw. It should also be noted that the start against the Blue Jays was Kluber's only road start in this postseason so far, although his numbers away from Cleveland during the regular season were pretty much the same as he had at home.
Today's game is on Fox. Announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.