CLEVELAND (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – For two teams who haven’t won a championship in so long, it seems fitting that the series between them is going the distance.READ MORE: Florida Search For Brian Laundrie, Boyfriend Of Gabby Petitio, Suspended
A longstanding drought will end for either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night while the other team will be flooded with heartbreak.
The visiting Cubs forced a decisive Game 7 with Tuesday’s 9-3 victory and are aiming to win their first World Series title since 1908 while the Indians are trying to break a rut that dates back to 1948.
Chicago recovered from a 3-1 deficit to win the last two games but has yet to solve Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, who is looking to become the first starting pitcher since Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1968 to record three victories in a single World Series.
Chicago shortstop Addison Russell (age 22) is coming off his own sterling performance as he became the second youngest player to hit a grand slam (behind New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle) and matched the Series record of six RBIs – tying Yankees Bobby Richardson (1960), Hideki Matsui (2009) and former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols (2011).
“We’ve been doing this all year, putting new history in history books and you wouldn’t be able to tell that,” Russell told reporters afterward.
The one-sided affair allows the Indians to have stellar left-hander Andrew Miller (0.53 ERA, 29 strikeouts in 17 postseason innings in 2016) and right-handed closer Cody Allen (22 strikeouts in 11 2/3 scoreless innings in 2016) rested for Game 7 while Cubs left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman pitched 1 1/3 innings on Tuesday despite the margin.
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PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 1.31 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (4-1, 0.89)
Hendricks, who won 16 regular-season games, took a no-decision in Game 3 of the World Series when he allowed six hits and two walks in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
The 26-year-old is ecstatic to have the opportunity to help the Cubs end their 108-year title drought.
“Exactly, this is the ultimate dream. You dream of getting to the World Series, winning the World Series,” Hendricks told reporters at a press conference. “When you’re out in your backyard as a kid, playing Little League at the field with your friends, this is the moment you dream about. … It’s always Game 7 of the World Series.”
Kluber has struck out 15 in 12 innings during the World Series while allowing just one run in his two victories.
He has repeatedly had his best stuff during the postseason despite regularly pitching on short rest and manager Terry Francona has been impressed that the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner has remained sharp.
“I wouldn’t want to do this all year, in fairness to him,” Francona told reporters at a press conference. “But I think for a couple starts, I think he can handle it just fine.”
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- Cubs 3B Kris Bryant went 4-for-5 in Game 6 and homered for the second straight game while 1B Anthony Rizzo also had a homer among three hits.
- Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis, who grew up in the Chicago area, has three hits and a homer in two of the past three games.
- Chicago OF Kyle Schwarber will again serve as the DH and is batting .333 in the World Series despite missing the previous six-plus months due to knee surgery.
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