CLEVELAND -- The postseason went from bad to worse for Indians rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin in Game 6. Really, it went from bad to worse a few games ago. Tuesday night it went from worse to much, much worse as the Cubs drubbed the Indians, 9-3, to force a Game 7.

Naquin had a hand in Chicago's win on both sides of the ball, which would be good if he actually played for the Cubs. In the very first inning, Naquin miscommunicated with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall on what should have been an inning-ending fly ball, allowing it to drop in to score two runs.

"It was just loud there," Naquin said, after Game 6. "It was just kind of one those in-betweeners. Lonnie got a good break, I had a break. It's just one of those deals man. Kind of one of those you wish you could take back. Me being the center fielder, I need to take charge on that. That's my mistake."

The Cubbies were already up 1-0 at that point, but gosh, 1-0 feels totally different than 3-0. That's a can of corn. The center fielder takes charge, calls off the right fielder, and catches it. We see that fly ball countless times each season and it usually gets caught with no problem.

"Lonnie went hard after it, as he should, but it's Naquin's ball," manager Terry Francona said. "And I think at the end there, as Lonnie was kind of pulling off, Naquin was yelling, 'It's yours. You got it' ... That was an unfortunate play, because we thought we were out of the inning with one, and instead it's three and (Josh Tomlin) had to keep pitching."

The poor defense is nothing new for Naquin. The defensive stats rated him very poorly during the regular season, crediting him with minus-18 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-6.3 Ultimate Zone Rating. Those were among the worst marks in MLB, regardless of position. Naquin makes even routine plays look adventurous with odd routes.

Because the dropped fly ball wasn't enough, Naquin also struck out in the Tribe's best opportunity to get back into the game. The Indians loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning on a single (Mike Napoli), a hit-by-pitch (Chisenhall), and a walk (Coco Crisp). Napoli's single drove in his team's first run. Jake Arrieta was starting to look a little shaky.

Naquin, with a chance to redeem himself for the two-run misplay in the first inning, struck out on four pitches in what was a fairly non-competitive at-bat. Here are the pitch locations, via Baseball Savant:

"I want to make up for (the dropped fly ball)," Naquin said. "It's kind of one of those things you have to learn from. It's a heck of a situation to learn from it being a big series like this. You've got two ways to look at it. You can grow up from it, or you can just dwell on it."

Naquin had an excellent offensive year during the regular season, hitting .296/.372/.514 (126 OPS+) with 14 home runs in 365 plate appearances. Those numbers surely earned him a bunch of Rookie of the Year votes.

The postseason has been a much different story. Naquin went into Game 6 hitting .190/.227/.286 with 12 strikeouts in 23 plate appearances in the playoffs That's a 52.2 percent strikeout rate, which is unacceptable at any level. Naquin then went 0-2 with two strikeouts in Game 6, so it's a 56.0 percent strikeout rate now.

The Indians have thrived despite Naquin's two-way ineffectiveness this October. Sure, they've dropped back-to-back potential clinchers and that's really disappointing, but they're still one win away from a World Series championship, and that's pretty great. This is where every team wants to be.

Tyler Naquin hurt the Indians offensively and defensively in Game 6. USATSI

Naquin's poor play on both sides of the ball finally caught up to the Indians in a big way in Game 6. Catching that pop-up to limit the Cubs to just one run in the first inning changes everything. Not making an out with the bases loaded in the fourth inning changes everything. Those were two enormous swings in the game.

Prior to Game 6, Indians manager Terry Francona mentioned he considered sitting Naquin in Game 6 given his poor at-bats this postseason, though he decided to stick it out and the decision backfired. It is truly one of Francona's few misfires this October. He's been dynamite overall. This decision didn't work.

The defensive misplay and continued inability to make contact make it likely Naquin will indeed find himself on the bench in favor of Rajai Davis in Game 7. There's a minimum acceptable standard of play and Naquin isn't meeting it right now. He simply doesn't give the Indians the best chance to win, and that was never more evident than in Game 6 on Tuesday night

"The fans. It's loud. You can't really hear," said Francisco Lindor, supporting his teammate. "That's just part of the game. We haven't played much in front of a crowd like this. The fans were loud today. But that's not an excuse. It's part of the game. It happened. We move on."