The Rogers Centre was a hostile environment. Fenway Park was a hostile environment.
But compared to what Wrigley Field may be tonight, those two venues might as well have been a McDonald’s Playplace.
The Cleveland Indians enter Wrigley Field, as starved a venue for a moment like this as you will ever seen in your lifetime, for Game Three tonight against the Chicago Cubs. The Indians are a talented team, and Josh Tomlin has been on a tear during the Indians’ charmed playoff run. They are a talented team and will absolutely be ready to compete tonight.
Here is tonight’s lineup, with thoughts to follow:
Carlos Santana out in left field is likely terrifying for both the Indians coaching staff and their fans, to say nothing of Carlos Santana himself. Santana is a bat Cleveland can’t afford to go without, and they’ll live with the fact that he will
look completely and utterly lost potentially struggle in left with the powerful winds he’ll be encountering on almost every fly ball hit his way.
Francisco Lindor is an absolute joy to watch, but his base-stealing abilities (as well the rest of the Indians’) will be compromised by the battery of Hendricks and Contreras. Kyle is the best pitcher in the Cubs’ starting staff at holding runners on, and Contreras has a massive arm that will be one of the most feared defensive weapons in the National League for years to come.
Watch out for rookie Tyler Naquin, who had a solid season and is a formidable eighth hitter for Cleveland. This lineup doesn’t have too many holes, and despite being compromised by the lack of a designated hitter in the National League, will be a formidable opponent for the stingy Hendricks.
If you read the Cubs’ preview, you know that I anticipated the Cubs touching up Josh Tomlin for a couple home runs before he gets pulled. Tomlin has pitched over his head these playoffs; he’s a Number Four or Five guy in a rotation who is currently throwing like a Number 2. Here’s the thing: He’s only been doing that over the past 10 2/3 innings, which is not a fair sample size to christen him “dominant” or “capable of keeping this Cubs team off the board.” Tomlin will have a tough go of things tonight.
Cubs will win, I’m thinking by a score of 6-2 or 6-3. This will be another four-hour game, with the last three innings feeling like they take up about six of those four hours.
Remember: Teams that have led after the third inning in these playoffs have been 20-3. If either team is ahead going into the fourth, they’re the team that will win. If the game is tied going into the 7th or later, though, I think the Cubs will take the game.