The Latest: Francona sits 'pressing' Naquin in Game 7
CLEVELAND (AP) The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians on Wednesday (all times local):
Indians manager Terry Francona isn't punishing rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin by sitting him in Game 7.
Naquin let a fly ball drop between him and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall in the first inning of Game 6, a mistake that paved the way to Chicago's 9-3 win over Cleveland.
Later, Naquin came up with the bases loaded in the fourth but struck out.
Francona said he feels Naquin is ''pressing a little bit. During the regular season you might kind of let him get through it, but with one game left and with (Corey) Kluber pitching, we're trying to put a premium on catching the ball.''
Rajai Davis will start in center against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks. With the prospect of facing lefties Aroldis Chapman and Jon Lester late in Game 7, Francona wanted to have the right-handed hitting Davis in the lineup.
''You can tell he's pressing,'' Francona said of Naquin, who is batting .143 in the Series. ''It's not punishment. It's trying to win.''
The Cleveland Indians are tweaking their outfield for Game 7 after a costly mistake by centerfielder Tyler Naquin in Game 6.
Naquin, who let a fly ball turn into a two-run double in the first inning of Tuesday night's loss, is out and Rajai Davis is back in for Cleveland.
Carlos Santana will lead off for the Indians, followed by Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez. Lonnie Chisenhall will hit sixth, with Davis seventh, Coco Crisp eighth and Roberto Perez catching and hitting ninth.
The Chicago Cubs are sticking with what works in Game 7 of the World Series.
The Cubs will use the same lineup that torched the Cleveland Indians for nine runs in a Game 6 win against Indians ace Corey Kluber on Wednesday night.
Dexter Fowler will lead off, followed by Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Ben Zobrist, who is hitting .391 in the series, will hit fifth. Addison Russell, who tied a World Series record with six RBIs in Game 6, will hit sixth, followed by Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez.
The Cubs have managed just one run off Kluber in his two starts in the Series, victories by the Indians in Game 1 and Game 4.
The Indians are bringing out one of their biggest bats for Game 7.
Jim Thome, the team's career home run leader, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Indians and Cubs meet with one of the franchises finally ending a long championship drought.
Thome was a member of the last Cleveland team to play in the Series in 1997, when the Indians lost Game 7 to Florida. He has attended several games in this Series. Thome grew up in Illinois and rooted for the Cubs as a kid.
But his allegiance remains to the Indians, whom he played for from 1191-2002 and came back in 2011. The slugger hit 612 career homers – 337 during his time with Cleveland – and he's immortalized with a statue beyond the center-field wall.
There is a chance of rain in the late innings of World Series Game 7 at Cleveland's Progressive Field.
Unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 60s or low 70s are forecast for Wednesday night. The chance of rain increases from 19 percent at 8 p.m. to 49 to 55 percent at 11 p.m., according to AccuWeather.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Wimer says in a statement: ''While a brief shower cannot be ruled out during Wednesday evening, if Game 7 runs late or goes into extra innings, then the chance of drenching rain will increase.''
Major League Baseball announced late Tuesday it was moving up the start time by 8 minutes to 8 p.m.
Last week, the start of Game 2 was moved up by 1 hour to 7:08 p.m. Light rain started in the eighth inning, and heavy rain hit shortly after the final out at about 11:15 p.m.