There is no tomorrow. Well, there is but there will be no baseball. The Cubs and Indians will end their epic World Series clash tonight in a decisive Game 7 at Progressive Field, with Chicago trying to become the first team since the 1985 Royals to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win the World Series. And Cleveland trying to … well, to not add another chapter to decades of Indians misery.
Who will be the hero? It could be someone completely unexpected, or it could be someone from this list of the most important players in Game 7:
It’s up to Kluber to stop the bleeding, though he’ll be pitching on short rest for the second time in the past four days. And the Cubs have to feel a little more comfortable after already seeing him twice. Cleveland would be thrilled if he can deliver 4-5 solid innings and a lead for the bullpen.
MLB’s ERA leader can redeem himself after lasting only 4.1 innings in Game 3. Hendricks will try to close out a second consecutive postseason series (7.1 scoreless innings vs. the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS), but he was much stingier at home this season.
Well, he’ll certainly be well-rested after not pitching since Saturday, when he allowed his first run of the postseason. Expect three innings or 50 pitches, whichever comes first for the strikeout machine. Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw also are primed for multi-inning duty.
Kris Bryant got the Cubs on the board with a solo homer in the fourth inning of the Game 5 win and again with a solo homer in the first inning of the Game 6 win -- after having one only hit in the first four games. Anthony Rizzo doubled and walked in Game 5 before singling twice and homering in Game 6. Combined, they had seven hits in Tuesday’s win. It's their team and their time.
It took a while, but Kipnis finally is hitting with two doubles and two homers in the past three games. Perhaps more important, though, the second baseman can’t afford a fourth error in this series.
A World Series champ with the Royals last season, Zobrist has three hits and two walks the past two games and has been a catalyst in the comeback. Zobrist, who has been on base 12 times in this series, also has two of the Cubs’ seven hits off Kluber.
Joe Maddon surprisingly summoned Chapman with a five-run lead in the seventh inning of Game 6 (for 1.1 innings and 20 pitches) after the closer threw 42 pitches in 2.2 innings in Game 5. How much does he have left for Game 7?