Chicago starter Jake Arrieta struggled with his command for much of the night, but he wound up taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Despite spotting just 55 of his 98 pitches for strikes, Arrieta allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six and walking three. His counterpart, Trevor Bauer, lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Over that span, he allowed two runs on six hits, and a patient Cubs lineup worked him for 87 pitches.
On the offensive end of things, Cubs DH Kyle Schwarber, playing in just his second game since returning from major knee surgery, went 2 for 3 with a walk and two RBI. Ben Zobrist also remained hot in the still-young series.
Arrieta flirts with World Series history
The funny thing about Game 2 is that took us all about five innings to realize Jake Arrieta had an in-progress no-hitter working.
Yet Arrieta's stuff is so good that he's difficult to hit even when he's imprecise and battling his mechanics. As such, maybe it wasn't overly shocking that he allowed just two hits in 5 2/3 innings, all the while throwing just more than half his 98 pitches for strikes. But back to that no-hitter watch. Arrieta carried his bid for history one out into the bottom of the sixth inning when Jason Kipnis did the deed and doubled to right. Arrieta was removed a wild pitch and single later, and that was that.
The last no-hit bid of 5.0 IP in the World Series was David Cone in Game 3 of the 1998 World Series @MLBONFOX— Anthony Masterson (@MasterTones) October 27, 2016
You can't write that Arrieta's performance was pretty, but it was effective, and it helped the Cubs even this series. Mission accomplished, so far as the Cubs are concerned.
Schwarber, Rizzo, Zobrist lead the way
Speaking of missions accomplished, Kyle Schwarber's seemingly impossible return to the lineup paid off in Game 2. He recorded a pair of hits and a walk and drove in two runs along the way. Basically, Schwarber looked like someone who hadn't missed most of the past six months because of torn tendons in his knee. Ridiculous.
Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist also contributed, totaling three hits (including a pair of extra-base knocks), three walks and two runs batted in.
You get that kind of production from your 3-4-5 hitters, and you'll win more often than not. Sure enough, the Cubs did.
The Indians' close call
It's hard to remember -- given Jake Arrieta's performance and the final score -- but the Indians were this close to jumping ahead in the first inning.
Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli drew consecutive two-out walks when Jose Ramirez put a into a 3-1 offering. Dexter Fowler trotted back and made the catch but Arrieta had the conditions to thank as much as anything. Take a gander at this statistic from Statcast, and picture of the wind from our very own Sergio Gonzalez:
Discount Statcast's numbers if you'd like, the point is this: Ramirez's ball does more damage if the weather conditions were more favorable. They weren't, so his didn't. That's life for you.
Indians' pitching falters
For just the second time this postseason, the Indians received a less-than-stellar performance from their pitching staff. The trouble began with starter Trevor Bauer.
The good news for Bauer is he wasn't removed because of blood-related issues in the first inning, as he was in Game 3 of the ALCS. The bad news? His command was horrid, leading to far too many pitches located up in or above the strike zone. Bauer was inefficient and struggled to get ahead of or put away batters. That's a bad combination -- particularly against a lineup as good as this Cubs lineup. Predictably, Bauer had a short day, tossing 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs and walking as many (two) as he struck out.
It was one of the shortest World Series outings in franchise history:
Shortest outing by a Cleveland starter, World Series— Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) October 27, 2016
10/7/20 Ray Caldwell 1/3 IP
10/1/54: Mike Garcia 3 IP
10/26/16: Trevor Bauer 3 2/3 IP
If there was a positive for the Indians, it was that Danny Salazar got some work in. Salazar had missed the last month with a strained forearm. He threw an inning, walking two but avoiding further damage.
Chisenhall's rough day
Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall is known as an above-average outfielder. You wouldn't have known based on a pair of Game 2 gaffes.
On Anthony Rizzo's first-inning single, Chisenhall erred by missing the cutoff man on a throw to the infield, allowing Kris Bryant to scamper home untested. Later, Chisenhall slipped on Ben Zobrist's RBI triple, leading to this beaut of a tweet:
Lonnie Trippenfall— Sam Miller (@SamMillerBB) October 27, 2016
Granted, the Indians had bigger issues going on -- see the Bauer section -- but Chisenhall's miscues stuck out on a team that's typically strong defensively.
Plenty of trivia
The Cubs won their first World Series game since 1945, of course, and Terry Francona suffered his first World Series defeat in his 10th game. But that wasn't the only history or interesting factoid. Let's hit the best ones.
First, about that Bryant run:
Now about Carlos Santana, the Indians' designated hitter, leading off:
Cleveland's Carlos Santana joined Lonnie Smith (6 times) & Chuck Knoblauch (3 times) as only DHs to lead off a WS game. #WorldSeries— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) October 26, 2016
And, oh yeah, about the Cubs' super-young lineup:
The Cubs batting order today will feature six players age 24 or younger. That's a new #postseason record.— MLB Statistics (@MLBRandomStats) October 26, 2016
Game 2 wasn't much of a spectacle from a competitive or thrilling standpoint, but hey, at least it borne a bunch of interesting tidbits.