Now is the time, if one is so inclined, to back the Chicago Cubs to come back and win the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.
Winning Game 5 of any best-of-seven series after going down 3-1 is the easiest part, of course, and Cleveland is home for Game 6 on Tuesday and a potential Game 7.
In the latest series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, the Cubs are listed as +190 underdogs to win the series. Cleveland is set at -230, since it has two chances at home at Progressive Field to get the win that will clinch their first championship since 1948.
Home teams that lead an MLB postseason series 3-2 have won Game 6 55.3% of the time.
For Game 6, the Cubs are set at -143 to win, with Cleveland listed at +133. The total is at seven runs at online gambling sites. The Cubs need to repeat the pattern from their first two series against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, where they struggled in the early games before the big bats of 1B Anthony Rizzo and 3B Kris Bryant came alive.
The Cubs are very tough on a starting pitcher they’re facing for the second time – just ask the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw about Game 6 of the NLCS.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta is the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, but is experiencing a regression with a 4.30 earned run average over his eight starts since September 1.
The Cubs are 5-5 straight-up in Arrieta’s last 10 road starts where they were the favorite. What’s worrisome about Arrieta is that his flyball-to-groundball ratio has risen throughout the season. If he leaves pitches up in the zone to, say, DH Carlos Santana or 1B Mike Napoli, Cleveland could get the early lead that it will turn over to its renowned bullpen.
Cleveland is starting Josh Tomlin on three days’ rest, but he only threw 58 pitches last Friday before manager Terry Francona went to lefty relief ace Andrew Miller. It is only the second time Tomlin has started with short rest. As a curveball pitcher, however, it’s more about placement than velocity for Tomlin.
The Indians, who are 6-4 in Tomlin’s last 10 home starts, should have a fully stocked bullpen. Miller has had two days off since a relatively (for him) brief 27-pitch outing last Saturday.
Kyle Hendricks would be the Cubs’ starter in Game 7. Cleveland has ace Corey Kluber, with his 0.89 ERA in five postseason starts, waiting in the wings.