Run for the Ring: World Series Game 6
Following a nail-biter in Game 5, the Cubs finally had a chance to catch their breath.
With an off-day for travel back to Cleveland falling on Oct. 31, manager Joe Maddon gave his players time to spend with their families, trick-or-treating and enjoying Halloween before the flight left that evening.
The Cubs were grateful for the respite and the breather proved to play huge dividends over the next 48 hours during the most crucial time in franchise history.
It also helps that the pressure transferred over to the Indians. No longer were the Cubs playing in front of a tense, anxious Wrigley Field crowd. Now, the Indians had to go back home to play in front of their fans who had been waiting 68 years for a championship and felt their commanding lead in the World Series slipping away.
Plus, hardly anybody actually expects a team to come back from down 3-1 in a 7-game series and win it all.
That pressure was evident immediately when Indians outfielders Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall miscommunicated and let Addison Russell’s fly ball drop for a 2-run double in the 1st inning of Game 6. This came after Kris Bryant’s solo homer and gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead.
They never looked back, as Russell put the game out of reach early and erased any sense of drama with a 3rd-inning grand slam to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta was on point, allowing only a walk with 5 strikeouts in the first 10 batters he faced. The Indians touched him up for a run in the bottom of the 4th and another tally in the 5th (on a Jason Kipnis homer), but that was it as Arrieta picked up his second road win of the Fall Classic. He finished with 9 whiffs in 5.2 innings.
Despite the large lead, Maddon still opted to go with Aroldis Chapman in the late innings, utilizing the Cubs closer for 20 pitches and 5 batters. Chapman was eventually charged with a run in the 9th when Roberto Pérez laced a single off Pedro Strop to plate Brandon Guyer.
In his return to the starting lineup as the designated hitter, Kyle Schwarber went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Here’s how the two teams lined up that night for the Game 4 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field:
Dexter Fowler – CF
Kyle Schwarber – DH
Kris Bryant – 3B
Anthony Rizzo – 1B
Ben Zobrist – LF
Addison Russell – SS
Willson Contreras – C
Jason Heyward – RF
Javy Báez – 2B
Jake Arrieta – P
Carlos Santana – DH
Jason Kipnis – 2B
Francisco Lindor – SS
Mike Napoli – 1B
José Ramírez – 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall – RF
Coco Crisp – LF
Tyler Naquin – CF
Roberto Pérez – C
Josh Tomlin – P
- Bryant’s 1st inning homer came on an 0-2 pitch. Tomlin was 1 strike away from getting out of the inning and instead wound up surrendering 3 runs.
- Russell’s grand slam was the first in Cubs World Series history and he became the first shortstop ever to hit a grand slam in the Fall Classic.
- Russell also tied a World Series record with 6 RBI.