There will be a Game 6 of the World Series.
Sunday night, the Cubs edged out the Indians with a 3-2 win in Game 5 at Wrigley Field. Aroldis Chapman slammed the door with authority with an eight-out save. Jon Lester went six strong and Kris Bryant hit his first home run of the World Series. Chicago's best players came up big.
It feels like the Cubs have all the momentum right now. They picked up a dramatic come-from-behind win in Game 5 to stay alive, and they did it at home with their fans cheering like crazy. Reigning Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta is lined up for Game 6, and MLB ERA king Kyle Hendricks is lined up for Game 7.
It's not hard to look at Chicago's current situation and feel pretty good about things, even though they're still down in the series. That said, the Indians are a really good team too, and they still lead the series. It might feel like the Cubs have the momentum, but the Indians are still in the driver's seat for a few reasons.
1. They still lead the series 3-2
According to WhoWins.com, teams that hold a 3-2 lead have gone on to win the series 70.4 percent of the time, historically. It jumps to 78.7 percent if that team has home-field advantage in Games 6 and 7, which the Indians do. It's pretty simple: The Cubs still need to go 2-0 from here on out. The Indians only need to go 1-1. The Tribe are still in control of the series thanks to that 3-2 lead.
2. They're going home to Progressive Field
Only one team had a better home record than the Indians during the regular season: the Cubs, the team they're playing in the World Series. Cleveland went a ridiculous 53-28 (.654) with a +105 run differential at Progressive Field during the regular season. (The Cubs went 57-24 at home.) They were a much more modest 41-39 (.513) with a -4 run differential on the road.
Furthermore, the Indians are 5-1 with a +12 run differential at home during the postseason. They have been a much better club at home this year for whatever reason. I'm sure the Indians wish they were heading back to Cleveland for a parade, not Game 6, but at least they'll get to play their remaining games at home in Progressive Field, where they play their best baseball.
3. Tomlin and Kluber are lined up
It's pretty clear Josh Tomlin is no longer is a pushover No. 5 starter, right? He's throwing a ton more breaking balls this postseason and the result is three runs allowed in 15 1/3 innings. That's a 1.76 ERA. He has a 0.85 WHIP as well. The guy has been phenomenal in October -- he shut the Cubs down in Game 3, remember -- and he's lined up for Game 6.
Now, Tomlin will start Game 6 on three days' rest, which is kind of a big deal, but it doesn't mean he's doomed to fail. Tomlin is not a "stuff" guy at all. His fastball sits in the upper-80s and he backs it up with an array of curveballs and cutters and changeups. He's one of those guys who could thrive on short rest because he locates so well and doesn't need velocity.
The Indians feel good about Tomlin in Game 6, but if there is a Game 7, they'll be able to run staff ace Corey Kluber out there. Kluber will be on short rest, though that doesn't matter. He manhandled the Cubs on short rest in Game 5. He can do it and still be effective. Kluber has a 0.89 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 30 1/3 innings in the playoffs. He's been a beast, and he's lined up for a potential Game 7.
4. Miller will get plenty of rest
Andrew Miller did not pitch in Game 5 on Sunday, and because Monday is an off-day for travel, he'll get two straight days off before Game 6 on Tuesday. That means we might see an awful lot of the big lefty in Game 6. Don't forget, he got eight outs in Game 5 of the ALCS. Manager Terry Francona could push Miller that much again should they have a chance to close out the series Tuesday. The only thing scarier than facing Andrew Miller for multiple innings is facing a well-rested Andrew Miller for multiple innings.
5. The offense got guys on base
The Indians had their chances in Game 5. They put the tying run in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, but they went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. It's one thing to get dominated and only put, say, five or six runners on base. The Indians scored seven runs in Game 4 and they had plenty of runners in scoring position in Game 5. They just didn't get the big hit. Keep putting runners on base and in scoring position and good things will happen.
The Cubs came into the World Series as the heavy favorites and understandably so. They were by far the best team in baseball during the regular season, and they looked close to unstoppable against the Dodgers in the final three games of the NLCS. The Indians have played well too, but they're banged up, and it seemed like the Cubs would finally be the team to bowl them over.
Instead, the Indians have a 3-2 series lead heading back to Cleveland for Game 6. I'm not sure many folks saw that coming. So they lost Game 5 on Sunday. That doesn't mean they're doomed. The Indians are an excellent ballclub, better than they seem to be getting credit for, and they're still in great shape in the World Series despite the Game 5 loss. The Cubs played maybe their best game of the World Series on Sunday and they still only barely held on to win. That says a lot about the Tribe.