CHICAGO (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – For those hoping to see history, it will have to come with a comeback for the ages.READ MORE: Hundreds Gathered In Wynwood To Protest Violence Against Palestinians
Hosting its first World Series in 71 years, Wrigley Field has become a playground for — of all teams — the Cleveland Indians, who can clinch their first World Series title since 1948 when they visit the reeling Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the Fall Classic on Sunday.
After taking Game 2 in Cleveland to tie the series, the Cubs have fallen flat in two contests at the cozy confines, turning a fanbase’s long wait for October glory into a potentially devastating outcome.
Corey Kluber was solid through six innings and Chicago native Jason Kipnis had a three-run homer among three hits in Saturday’s 7-2 triumph for the Indians, who saw manager Terry Francona improve to 11-1 all-time in the World Series and pull within one victory of his third career crown.
“I’m starting to (imagine what it would be like to win at Wrigley Field),” Kipnis told FOX. “I’m starting to. I’ve got a lot of friends and family here. To be able to do it in Chicago, it would mean a lot.”
At the very least, the Cubs have the decided advantage on the mound in Game 5, as postseason standout Jon Lester opposes Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who has struggled since cutting a finger while repairing a drone prior to the American League Championship Series.
Cleveland slugger Mike Napoli will return to the staring lineup after sitting out the start of Game 4 while Chicago may need to shuffle a lineup that is hitting .204 in the series and has seen MVP candidate Kris Bryant go 1-for-14.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FOXREAD MORE: Frost Science Opens New Exhibit Centered Around Pterosaurs
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (2-1, 1.69)
Bauer lasted just 3 2/3 innings while allowing two runs and six hits in a Game 2 loss Wednesday, giving up RBI singles to Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber.
The 25-year-old Bauer has never started a game in the majors on three days of rest but he tossed seven scoreless innings in his only career outing at Wrigley Field in 2015.
The bullpen will be well-rested behind him and Francona has long-relief options in Danny Salazar or Ryan Merritt if Bauer has another early exit.
Lester gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings in the Game 1 loss but he still owns a 2.60 ERA in 124 2/3 innings in his postseason career.
“I don’t think you can really take it any different than any other start, whether you’re tied or whether you’re down or up,” Lester told reporters. “I think if you’re down 3-1 and you’re going in there saying you have to do this, you have to do that to try to stay alive, I think you’ve kind of already been beaten, you know? You’re not worried about the right thing.”
Napoli was 0-for-2 with a walk against Lester in Game 1 but is 6-for-17 with two homers and three free passes in his career against the southpaw, including the postseason.
WALK-OFFSMORE NEWS: Miss USA Asya Branch Could Make History In Sunday's Miss Universe Competition At Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino
- Indians LHP Andrew Miller allowed a solo homer to Cubs CF Dexter Fowler on Saturday, the only run he has allowed in 17 innings this postseason.
- Rizzo is 4-for-10 with two doubles and two RBIs in the last three games.
- Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor has recorded multiple hits in three of four games in the series.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Sports Direct Inc. contributed to this report.)