Cubs-Indians World Series Game 6: Final score, things to know as Cubs force Game 7
This World Series will go the distance after a Cubs explosion on offense in Game 6
The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 9-3 score on Tuesday night, in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series, thus forcing a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night. The game was almost never in doubt from the get go, as the Cubs jumped on Josh Tomlin for three in the first inning, before later tacking on four more in the third. Addison Russell was responsible for six of those runs, thus tying a World Series single-game record for RBI. Jake Arrieta, meanwhile, pitched better than he did in Game 2.
Now for some things to know about Game 6 ...
1. The Cubs hit the ball hard early
In the first inning, Kris Bryant's home run (433 feet) and the singles by Anthony Rizzo each checked in at more than 100 mph. In the second, when Jason Heyward took one almost to the warning track, it was just shy of 100 mph. Third inning? Rizzo's single left the bat at 96 mph, and Zobrist's single registered 105 mph. The switch from starter Josh Tomlin to reliever Dan Otero didn't help matters, as Addison Russell's grand slam traveled 434 feet and exited the bat at 108 mph. Even Willson Contreras' inning-ending ground-out cracked 100 mph. By that point, Game 6 was effectively over.
Also, let it be known that they really didn't stop hitting the ball hard ...
.@cubs crushing baseballs tonight:- Daren Willman (@darenw) November 2, 2016
During the regular season, the Cubs boasted one of the best offenses in baseball. On Tuesday night, they reminded us of that.
2. Addison Russell made World Series history
No, Russell's two-RBI "single" in the first wasn't particularly well-deserved, but there was nothing cheap about his grand slam. In any event, Russell had a whopping six RBI by the third, which brings us to this ...
As for that grand slam, it put Russell in very elite company ...
Coming into Game 6 Russell was batting just .211/.250/.211, so consider all of this to be a timely reversal of fortune.
3. "Bryzzo" had a night
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have been a powerful and productive tandem for the Cubs for the last two years. Game 6 was all of that writ small. The two hitters combined to rack up seven hits, two homers, 13 total bases, three RBI, and five runs scored.
4. Jason Heyward's fourth-inning catch was potentially a big one.
In the fourth, Jake Arrieta struggled with his command and wound up allowed a run and four base-runners. Fortunately for the Cubs, he was able to strike out Tyler Naquin to leave the bases loaded. However, had Jason Heyward not made a ranging, diving snare of Jose Ramirez's liner, then it could've been a different inning -- an inning that perhaps put the Indians within striking distance. All of this is to saying nothing of his 9-6 putout in the ninth, which snuffed out almost any remaining hope for Cleveland. Heyward's difficulties at the plate are well-chronicled, but he's contributed in a big way with the glove, especially over the last two games.
5. Tyler Naquin would probably like to forget this game.
The metrics are in strong agreement that Naquin is a bad defensive center fielder, and that was certainly evident in the first inning on Tuesday night. Naquin's last-second deferral to right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall allowed Addison Russell's pop-up to fall in and plate a pair of runs. Then Naquin almost misplayed a routine Kris Bryant fly ball in the third. Then Naquin struck out with the bases loaded in the fourth. Terry Francona hasn't struck many wrong notes this postseason, but he'd surely like to go back in time and give Rajai Davis the Game 6 start over Naquin.
6. The Cubs got good, not great results from Jake Arrieta
Arrieta pitched on an extra day of rest in Game 6, and his stuff certainly seemed like it. For instance ...
Jake Arrieta's fastball is averaging 94.6 mph tonight. It was higher than that only 2 other times this season (back-to-back outings in June)— Inside Edge (@InsideEdgeScout) November 2, 2016
That played a role in his racking up nine strikeouts in just 5 2/3 innings. On that point ...
Do the math, and you'll see he was already the franchise leader, but Tuesday night's performance padded his lead in a big way. The thing with Arrieta, though, is that sometimes he has trouble harnessing his stuff. In Game 6, he wound up walking three and had topped 100 pitches by the sixth, in addition to giving up two runs. Given that early seven-run lead, manager Joe Maddon probably would've preferred a more pitch-efficient Arrieta -- one that could've gone deeper into Game 6. That, in turn, would've allowed him to ease off the bullpen in advance of Game 7. Hairsplitting aside, Arrieta gave the Cubs enough.
7. Jason Kipnis had a good game in defeat
Remember when we were talking about Kipnis' injured ankle? In Game 6, Kipnis enjoyed a three-hit night, including a homer and a double. Speaking of that homer ...
Only Jim Thome (6) in 1998 & Sandy Alomar (5) in 1997 have had more HR than Jason Kipnis (4) in a single Indians postseason.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 2, 2016
8. Joe Maddon used his best relievers, but Terry Francona didn't
In a way, getting mostly buried early allowed Francona to set up better for Game 7. He didn't use any of his three best relievers in Game 6, as Andrew Miller and Cody Allen got the night off. In Miller's case, he hasn't pitched since Game 4, so he'll be on three days' rest in the finale. Maddon, though, wound up using Aroldis Chapman for multiple for four outs.
Yes, the Cubs maintained a healthy lead for pretty much the entire games, but Maddon, unlikely Francona, was managing an elimination game. As such, the downside of not using his best relievers to protect that lead, even in a low-leverage situation, was substantial. It did, however, seem strange that Maddon let Chapman open the ninth after pitching the eighth and getting the final out of the seventh. Here's his explanation ...
Joe Maddon tells Tom Verducci that he let Aroldis Chapman start the 9th because Pedro Strop needed more time to warm up.— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) November 2, 2016
Whatever the reasons, Cleveland's frontline relievers may be a little fresher than Chicago's for Game 7.
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