Wednesday night brings up nearly every sports fan’s favorite pair of words —Game 7. The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians match up in the final game of what has already become a World Series for the ages. One team will come out as World Series champion, while the other will add yet another year to the longest championship drought in baseball. It all comes down to this.
Game 7 will start Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. and will air on FOX. Joe Buck will handle the play-by-play, along with color commentary from John Smoltz and field-level reporting from Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci.
Cleveland will likely send ace Corey Kluber to the mound with their season on the line as they look to avoid blowing a 3-1 World Series lead. Kluber has a dominant 0.89 ERA, as he has allowed just three runs in 30 1/3 innings this season. Kluber will start Game 7 on three days’ rest, which he has done twice before this season. While Kluber has only allowed his three postseason runs in his two starts where he had three days’ rest, he still had 13 strikeouts and just three walks in 11 innings over those appearances.
The Cubs’ hopes for reversing their 108-year World Series drought will rest on the shoulders of Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks has a 1.31 ERA and 1.02 WHIP this postseason, continuing to impress after posting a 2.13 ERA and a 16-8 record in the regular season. Hendricks has only made it past the sixth inning in one of his four starts this postseason, but manager Joe Maddon will likely expect Hendricks to go deep into the game Wednesday night. Hendricks lasted six innings or more in 20 of his 30 starts this season, including 12 out of 14 after the All-Star break.
The Indians will need to ensure that Kluber hands a lead to Andrew Miller and the Cleveland bullpen if they want to win this game and thus the World Series. The Indians’ bullpen has yet to blow a lead this postseason, provided one does not count ALCS Game 3, when Toronto took a brief lead early in the game after starter Trevor Bauer left in the first inning.
The Indians bullpen has pitched to a collective 1.84 ERA in 58 2/3 innings this postseason, making it all the more likely that they could hold a late-game lead.
For the Cubs to become the fifth team to win a World Series by rallying back from a 3-1 deficit and just the third to do so by winning the last two games on the road, it will ultimately come down to their bats. While Hendricks will need to stifle the Indians’ lineup, the Cubs’ ability to muster anything against Kluber will make the difference.
The Cubs scored just nine runs in the first five games of this World Series, but scored nine in Game 6 alone, with three home runs, including a solo shot from Kris Bryant, a two-run homer from Anthony Rizzo, and grand slam from Addison Russell. If the Cubs want to reverse their curse, it will come thanks to the offensive output from Russell, Bryant, Rizzo, or one of the Cubs’ other potent hitters.
How to Watch World Series Game 7
When: 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland
Radio: ESPN Radio