The two teams with the longest championship futility in baseball took one step to championship glory yesterday.
The Cleveland Indians, fresh off winning the World Series in 1948, took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven against Toronto, beating the Blue Jays 2-1. They won Game 2 pretty much the same way they won Game 1. Dominating starting pitching, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen.
That’s five playoff wins in a row for a Cleveland team that lost two-fifths of its dominating rotation, and seems to have, somehow, gotten better.
Somehow is the right world. Yesterday’s starter Josh Tomlin smothered a very good hitting Blue Jays team over 5.1 innings with just three hits and one earned run. In August, you would not have let Tomlin anywhere near a post-season roster. For the month, he was 0-5 with an 11.48 ERA.
Then the Indians lost aces Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, and all Tomlin did was go 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in five September games. He carried that with him yesterday.
It’s as if suddenly Kyle Lohse turned into Matt Bush. Those things just don’t happen.
But it did to Cleveland. And now the Indians are halfway to the World Series. They go back to Toronto for Game 3 Monday, where their 2-0 lead will get put to the test.
In the National League, a five-run eighth inning blew open a 3-3 tie to give the Chicago Cubs a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven with the Dodgers.
If you are the Dodgers, at least you can take solace in the fact that they tied the game in the top of the eighth off Aroldis Chapman, who recorded his second blown save in the playoffs. The guy with the unhittable 105–mile-an-hour-fastball is very hittable if he throws it the wrong place.
With an 8-4 victory in Game 1, the Cubs took the first step toward their first World Series appearance since 1945, and, as everyone in the free world knows, their first championship since 1908.
A whole lot of people in one city are getting ready to celebrate like they haven’t done in a long, long time. In Chicago, ever.
There can’t be a single human being alive who witnessed the Cubs last World Series victory.
Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69) vs. Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13)
Game time: 7:08, FS1