Indians-Cubs World Series Game 4: How to watch, live stream, expert picks, predictions
The Indians lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 and have Corey Kluber pitching on short rest
Thanks to a thrilling 1-0 win in Game 3 on Friday, the Indians took a 2-1 series lead over the Cubs in the 2016 World Series. The two teams will play Games 4 and 5 at Wrigley Field on Chicago's north side this weekend. Games 6 and 7 will then be played at Progressive Field in Cleveland, if necessary.
Needless to say, Game 4 is a crucial game in the series. The Indians have a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, while the Cubs need a win to even things up at 2-2, effectively making this a best-of-three series. Here are the broadcast details for Game 4 on Saturday night.
Right now the weather forecast for Game 4 looks good enough. It'll be cold and cloudy, but there's no heavy rain in the forecast, and that's most important. Let's preview the Game 4 starting pitching matchup.
John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) vs. Indians
Game 4 will be Lackey's 23rd career postseason start, the most among all active pitchers. His teammate, Jon Lester, is tied for second with Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia. They each have 18. Lackey has also made three career postseason relief appearances, so he's well-versed in intense October baseball.
"It's a little magnified, I'm sure, with the history and the time (it) has been since there's been World Series games here," Lackey said on Friday when asked about pitching in the World Series at Wrigley Field. "Just driving into the ballpark, trying to get to the players' parking lot is an experience. There's a lot of people out there. It's really cool."
Lackey has made two starts this postseason and he only completed four innings each time. He allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in his NLDS start against the Giants, and two runs on three hits and three walks in his NLCS start against the Dodgers. Lackey hasn't been at his best this postseason.
The Indians and Cubs did not meet during interleague play this year, though while Cleveland's hitters haven't seen Lackey this year, there's a lot of history here thanks to all the time he spent in the AL earlier in his career. Coco Crisp is 5 for 38 (.132) against Lackey in his career while Rajai Davis is 12 for 35 (.343). They have the most experience against him among Indians' players.
All told, Indians' hitters own a combined .198/.305/.344 batting line in 152 plate appearances against Lackey. Among players who have faced him at least six times, only Davis is hitting over .222. History is on Lackey's side, though that hardly guarantees him success in Game 4.
Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) vs. Cubs
This is the biggest difference between the Cubs and Indians right now. The Cubs are healthy and deep, so much so that they can start a guy like Lackey in Game 4 of the postseason series. The Indians are without Carlos Carrasco (hand), and Danny Salazar (forearm) just returned this series as a reliever, forcing them to use Kluber on three days' rest in Game 4. He'll start Game 7 on short rest as well, if necessary.
"I don't do a whole lot different. Maybe just spend a little more time trying to do a couple different recovery methods," Kluber said on Friday when asked about adjusting his preparation to start on short rest. "Aside from throwing a little bit shorter side session, it's not all that different for me. I think that I kind of had to feel my way through it when I pitched on short rest against Toronto the days in between to kind of figure out what would work for me. I think what we did worked well."
A well-rested Kluber thoroughly dominated the Cubs in Game 1 earlier this week, striking out nine and holding them to four hits in six scoreless innings. He only threw 88 pitches, so there was plenty of gas in the tank to keep going, but manager Terry Francona admitted he pulled Kluber earlier than usual to help him be as effective as possible on short rest in Game 4.
Even after Game 1, most players on the Cubs do not have much experience against Kluber. Veterans Ben Zobrist (16 plate appearances) and Dexter Fowler (11) are the only players on Chicago's roster who have faced the 2014 AL Cy Young winner more than six times. Combined, Cubs' hitters own a .113/.127/.177 batting line against Kluber in 65 plate appearances. That ain't good.
Now, that said, seeing Kluber in Game 1 figures to help the Cubs in Game 4 because they're more familiar with him now. Also, the fact he'll be on short rest works to their advantage too. Kluber will be at something less than full strength, in theory. Of course, Kluber is outrageously good, so having seen him in Game 1 might not matter. When he's on, he can dominate any lineup.
CBS Sports Predictions
Picking the score of a single baseball game is of course a fool's errands, so these fools have undertaken that errand. Here's how we see Game 4 going Saturday night ...
| R.J. Anderson ||4-1|| |
Kluber's Kluber and the Indians roll.
| Mike Axisa ||4-3|| |
On short rest, Kluber is not quite as sharp as he was in Game 1, but he's still good enough to win. Miller and Allen again do the heavy lifting in relief while Bryant makes a crucial error that allows the winning run to score.
| Jonah Keri || 5-2 |
| Dayn Perry ||3-1|| |
Kluber doesn't miss a beat. Andrew Miller works two scoreless innings. Also, a fan will run on the field in Game 4.
| Bill Reiter ||7-2|| |
The Cubs shock the world, and do to Corey Kluber what they did to Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in the NLCS and NLDS, respectively.
| Matt Snyder ||3-2|| |
There's every reason in the world to think that the Indians will win this game with Corey Kluber and the excellent bullpen. There was also every reason in the world to think the Dodgers would win Game 6 in the NLCS, too. Call this a gut feeling more than anything else, really.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what it's all about.
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