Indians

Cubs 8, Indians 7: The Worst (and Best!) World Series Game of All Time

K.Farabaugh/VOA
K.Farabaugh/VOA

I am back you guys.

Not because I’m a good luck charm. Not because I’m particularly good at this. Certainly not because of how sober I plan to be by this game’s end.

I’m back because as long as I’m using my hands to type silly jokes and nonsensical asides, I can’t strangle myself in a rage of anxiety-fueled panic.

IT’S GAME SEVEN WORLD SERIES LIVE BLOG TIME!

7:34 p.m. – As I was trying to distract myself today, I read that Pat Shurmur was named offensive coordinator of the Vikings after Norv Turner’s unexpected resignation.

I then spent the next hour or so tracking down my all-time favorite Pat Shurmur gif—a metaphor of sorts for his tenure in our city.

Pat begins confident and determined, as always. Next, he makes a decision that causes him and the viewer legitimate confusion; he simply defeats himself. After the disaster though? Pat pretends everything is fine and going according to plan. NO PROBLEMS HERE, EVERYTHING’S GOING FINE!! And then, to complete the perfection of the metaphor, it repeats on a never ending loop. Watch this, Vikings fan, and you’ve looked into the entirety of this man’s plan for your offense.

7:49 p.m. – It is a good thing that Francona understands that Rajai Davis should not be leading off in the playoffs. It is a little crazy that it took a Tyler Naquin meltdown to force this.

Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Champs

The point, of course, is that Santana’s elite on-base skills get somewhat devalued in the 5-hole, because we have the black hole of Crisp/Chiz-Guyer/Naquin-Perez following him. Get him on base in front of our best hitters.  (This is my way of reverse-jinxing those guys, if you can’t tell.)

7:58 p.m. – I’m NERVOUS.

8:01 p.m. – 69 degrees. Nice.

8:02 p.m. – First pitch to Fowler a two seamer called for a strike on the outer half at the knees. We’re off!

8:03 p.m. – Dexter Fowler hit a home run on the fourth pitch of the game, and I really don’t want to talk about it.

Can we talk about Pat Shurmur again?

8:12 p.m. – Kluber gets out with no more damage after some Biden-level MULARKEY from Kyle Schwarber (he stole a base). Corey’s command is a bit troubling: everything is up, as his three flyball outs (not to mention the homer) would indicate. My guess is that his arm slot is getting low, and he’s not getting on top of his pitches enough. This is the sort of thing that can tend to happen when you have a guy make three starts in nine days.

My pre-game theory was that under no circumstances do I think Kluber should pitch beyond the fourth inning, given the arms we have lined up behind him.

8:15 p.m. – Yes John Smoltz! Finally someone had the courage to point out that nobody talks about Kyle Hendricks! You’re a brave, brave man.

(I have generally liked Smoltz this post-season, and I’m clearly lashing out right now.  Sorry John!)

8:19 p.m – Hendricks is not going to give this to us, it would seem. He should have been through the first on seven pitches, but Javier Baez let Lindor reach with a lazy play and he throws 11 pitches instead.

It must be incredibly frustrating to face a pitcher with stuff like Hendricks. He somehow manages to throw almost nothing but strikes, and yet none of them are good enough to really barrel. Santana and Napoli both saw very hittable fastballs on the first pitches of their at bat, but other than those, almost every pitch was impossible to do damage on.

8:25 p.m. – The good news: Kluber sends ‘em down 1-2-3. The bad news? All six outs he’s recorded have been fly balls, which would not typically be the game plan for this pitcher against this lineup.  Coming into the game, I wanted four innings from Kluber and 60-70 pitches, he’s through 2 with 26 pitches.  All is going to plan.  EXCEPT THAT FOWLER PERSON.

8:28 p.m. – Typically I can use the commercial breaks to escape from my in-game anxiety, but of course this game has to be played during the most awful, fear-driven, and noxious political campaign in my lifetime, and apparently the consultants believe that the World Series attracts undecided voters, so I am doubly wound.

So yeah, I’ve been drinking.

Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Central Champs8:32 p.m. – These things just can’t happen.

After Ramirez scorched a line drive back up the middle off Hendricks to lead off the inning, Hendricks casually picks him off leaning to second.  Feels like a devastating mistake, and Ramirez looks devastated.

8:34 p.m. – Lonnie dumps a single to left, but Davis hits into a 5-4-3 double play, and Hendricks looks both entirely hittable and entirely invincible, if that makes any sense.

8:37 p.m. – Just saw a dog food commercial that almost made me cry. AND I HATE MY DOG. I think I may be getting too emotional here.

8:40 p.m. – A second straight 1-2-3 inning from Kluber, and yet more reason for concern.  All three balls were hit in the air, the first two fairly healthy flyballs to the outfield, the third a screaming liner into the right field corner by Schwarber, who must now fancy himself a baserunner after the stolen base. Chiz guns him down trying to stretch it into a double to end the inning.

Kluber is not right, and we need one more inning out of him, against the heart of their order. We are short-stacked right now. Not saying this game can’t or won’t change in a hurry, but make no mistake: we need it to.

8:49 p.m. – I AM A GOLDEN GOD

Coco leads off the inning with a scorched double into the left field corner.  It takes a fantastic bunt from Perez to move him to third, which brings up our best hitter, one Carlos Santana, who JUST HAPPENS TO BE LEADING OFF.

Santana rips a single to right field, and just like that, we’re tied at 1, one down. Kippers coming up.

8:53 p.m. – That was really odd.  Kipnis hits a soft grounder to short, and Russell flips to Baez to start the double play and….Baez decides to barehand the ball.  He never catches it, but the umps call him out (#ROBOTS), which is overturned and now the Indians have men on first and second with one out and the crowd is getting electric. A chance to seize the game.

8:57 p.m. – Oooofff.  A bit of a gut punch.  Lindor flies out to deep left, and Napoli rips a hard liner right into Bryant’s glove at third. Just like that, the threat is gone. Could’ve been more, but we are back even.

Needless to say, this is the biggest inning of Corey Kluber’s career, going against the Cubs’ best hitters. It has a chance to decide the World Series, given the bullpen the Indians have.

9:18 p.m. – How did we let that happen? We just gave the Cubs the lead—they didn’t even take it, we just handed it to them. It’s 3-1 Chicago, and now I have to recreate it.

The inning started innocently enough: Kluber goes to a full count on Bryant, who then (finally) hits a groundball to short. Except we have no short stop, because we are in an elaborate shift that vacates Lindor’s standard territory. Bryant cruises to first; was that a mistake?

Kluber then tries to pitch Rizzo in, which is appropriate, but has no confidence in his curve ball, and keeps moving further and further in until he plunks him in the shoulder. First and second, no outs and the world is ending. That was a mistake, right?

But then!! A hard hit grounder to first from Zobrist, and Napoli has an easy 3-6-3 staring him in the eye. But he makes a bad throw to second and Lindor is only able to get one out, leaving first and third with one out. OK, that’s definitely a mistake—no question mark.

Next is Russell, who lifts a shallow fly to center. Rajai charges, catches, and then…double pumps? Hesitates? Brain farts? Whatever it was, Bryant tags from third and gets just enough extra time to slide beneath the tag to put the Cubs up a run.  Zobrist takes second in the process. MISTAKE.

And then the coup de grace: as if last night’s display of “center field” was not enough to prove the point, Wilson Contreras drives a deep but playable flyball to right center. Rajai misreads it badly and breaks in before going back. It’s a disaster. Over his head and Zobrist scores from second. Mercifully, Heyward pops out to short to end the inning.

3-1 Cubs, and this game is really sloppy on both sides.

9:25 p.m. – Indians went 1-2-3 against Hendricks while I was writing up the disaster. I’m. Freaking. Out.

9:29 p.m. – Baez leads off the fifth with a home run. Against Kluber, which is unbelievable.

Kluber should not have been in this game in the fifth inning EVEN IF HE WAS THROWING A PERFECT GAME. We have something like the best pitcher in baseball in Andrew Miller, who is completely healthy and inarguably better than Kluber even when Kluber is “on”.  There is no reason to have Kluber, compromised by an otherworldly workload over the last 10 days, pitching into the fifth inning when you have a fully rested Miller, Shaw, and Allen.

David Ross, he of the Drinks Ensure and Drives with his Left Turn Signal On.

But Corey Kluber wasn’t throwing a perfect game. He couldn’t get the ball down. He shook off Bob on several curveballs, meaning he was basically trying to do get this offense out on one pitch: a two-seamer that was inducing nothing but fly balls. Corey Kluber was not ok, and even a dummy like me could see it.

Francona has gotten them this far. Francona made a HUGE mistake tonight, and I can’t begin to understand what he was thinking here.

Miller coming on, a batter later than he should be.

9:42 p.m. It gets worse and worse. After Miller records two quick outs, Kris Bryant works a 10-pitch walk on a borderline pitch. Rizzo then drives a ball to right with Bryant in motion and he comes all the away around to score. 5-1 Cubs.

Miller throws 20 pitches before it’s over. The Indians need to score four before they make 15 outs. It’s slipping away fast, and Lester’s looming in the Cubs’ pen.

9:51 p.m. – Hendricks cuts through Crisp & Perez before Santana draws a walk, and his night is over. Maddon going to Lester to face Kipnis with two outs.

I hate to sound defeated, but Kendricks was totally hittable and we let him off the hook. Now we have to beat Lester and Chapman to win the World Series.  YAY!!

9:53 p.m. – It is not lost on me that these live blog things are probably more fun to read during boring, regular season games rather than tense, playoff games.  I totally get that, as some of my favorites have been complete stinkers. I wish I was writing about Andy Marte pitching or my son’s love of his penis or literally anything other than losing the World Series by being bone heads.

But then, I don’t know. We’re in Game 7 of the World Series, which is AMAZING. Trying to find my emotional center tonight. What if we win?

Also: Still drinking.

10:01 p.m. – MY EMOTIONAL CENTER IS A DEMIGOD.  It’s either that or the scotch.

Kipnis chops a squibber in front of the plate, and David Ross, just in to catch Lester, springs up, pivots, and throws the ball away trying to make a quick throw to first. Kip and Santana get to second and third respectively, still two outs.

Then Lester bounces a 55-footer off Ross’s mask.  The ball gets away. Santana scores easily, and Kipnis does not stop. Ross looks dazed at first, and by the time he gets to the ball and whips it to Lester, Kip is sliding in ahead of the tag.

After a Lindor strikeout, it’s a 5-3 game.  Lester looks shaken, heading to the sixth. Could use a quickie from Miller here.

Cleveland Indians 2016 AL Champs10:10 p.m. – This game is DISGUSTING. Andrew Miller, he of the BEING ANDREW MILLER, lets up a solo shot to David Ross, he of the Drinks Ensure and Drives with his Left Turn Signal On. Cubs back up, 6-3, a score that has literally NO CHANCE of holding, as these assholes are not playing baseball, but some odd performance art that mixes bad cricket with capture the flag.

It is not a quickie. It is another disaster, and Miller at 36 pitches. He can keep going, but should he?  Heading to the bottom of the sixth, we have 12 outs left to Make Game 7 Great Again.

10:21 p.m. – Now nine outs to score three and save this country from Eddie Vedder and Billy Corgan having the grossest hug ever. I’m not sure we all understand how unbearable this will be: it’ll be like Boston, but without the backlash. That is ELITE AWFUL. It’s on our boys to prevent it.

Guyer with a pinch hit, but otherwise Lester dealing to the soft underbelly of our lineup. We’re going to have to beat Chapman, methinks. In an unrelated sense, I would like to beat Chapman.

10:29 p.m. – After a leadoff single to right and a Schwarber flyout, Miller’s night is done with one down in the top of the seventh. Allen in to face Bryant et al.

Miller goes two and a third and lets up two. Given our two best pitchers looked fringy at best, we deserve to lose. On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons the Cubs deserve to lose too. This game is a mess, but someone is going to win. It legit could still be us.

10:37 p.m. – Allen has a protracted battle with Bryant, but eventually gets a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play to end the inning. Crisp-Perez-Santana coming up.

Also, it might rain!! I don’t even know if I want it to rain, as I’m having a hard enough time thinking about this flustercuck!!!

10:48 p.m. – Chapman it is. Lester gives up a one-out walk to Bob, but gets Santana and Kipnis to send it to the eighth.

Six outs to score at least three.  Yuck.

Aroldis Chapman. Double yuck.

10:56 p.m. – Cody carves ‘em up. 1-2-3. Heading to the bottom of the eighth. I’m assuming Chapman for six outs, but Maddon has been doing weird things.  Also said Chapman is good for “30 to 40 pitches”.

WE JUST DON’T KNOW, DUDE.

10:59 p.m. – It’s Lester. They’re only asking Chapman for one inning tonight. Lindor, Napoli, Ramirez this inning. Things are poopy.

11:00 p.m. – Lindor grounds out to short. One down. It’s a problem.

11:02 p.m. – Napoli strikes out looking. Two outs. John Cusack shorts are wet.

11:03 p.m. – Yes-way bangs a single off Addison Russell and Lester gives way to Chapman!

The hope—the theory, the need, the proof of worldly grace—is that Chapman will be tired or scared or overwhelmed before he can get four outs. That is what we need to believe in. After all, it happens all the time.

11:10 p.m. – I just realized my TV is on an incredible delay. The Indians official account tweeted 6-4.  And then, several seconds later, Brandon Guyer drove a double to the right field gap to score Ramirez from first. Officially 6-4, in Steiner Time.

We are in his head. But we need Rajai to do something valuable here.

11:13 p.m. – Oh my lord.

Rajai Davis just hit a two-run home run off Aroldis Chapman and we are tied, 6-6! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HORRIBLE, AWFUL, UNCONTROLLABLE EMOTIONS!

I was running directly at the TV when it happened because I knew it was going to happen because of the delay and Twitter and now I feel like a psychic who can do amazing things and why not just win the whole thing? I think I might be on peyote is this what peyote is!?!?

What about the rain, though?

11:22 p.m. – I’m texting people like crazy to make sure they know this is wild. It’s still tied at six. I’m doing this moment no justice.

11:24 p.m. – Alright I’m back. Allen walks David Ross to lead off the ninth. This is the second worst thing that’s happened with David Ross at the plate tonight. Allen at 22 pitches, and needs to have more in the tank.

 These assholes are not playing baseball, but some odd performance art that mixes bad cricket with capture the flag.

11:32 p.m. – Heyward drills one hard, but right to Kipnis for a force. One down. Top of the ninth, Heyward on first.

The rain is coming. As is Winter. I’m gonna be up all night, which is fine, because HOLY SHIT IT’S GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES.

Shaw coming on for Allen and I AM RUNNING OUT OF ALCOHOL.

11:39 p.m. – Oh no.

Oh no, oh no, oh no.

With Baez at bat, Heyward takes off for second. Gomes bounces the throw off Kipnis and Heyward is at third with one out. This is horrible.

11:40 p.m. – I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY BUNTED 3-2 WITH 1 OUT. THEY ARE LUNATICS. THAT IS INSANE, RIGHT?!?!?!

Foul tip! Baez out! Fowler up with two down and runner on third.

11:42 p.m. – Lindor is God.

Fowler drives a grounder up the middle, but Lindor ranges far to his left and retires the speedy Fowler. I said before that this game was sloppy. I stand by that. It is also the best Game 7 I’ve ever seen.

Going to the bottom of the ninth. Top of the Indians order. The only way we win is a walkoff. Good God, friends.  Good God.

11:45 p.m. – Chapman. Still. He’s dead tired, at 21 pitches.

11:47 p.m. – Santana just misses a 2-2 hanging slider for a flyout to left. We’re gonna do this. Kipper coming up.

11:48 p.m. – Kipper pulled one in the air foul and I jumped like a child because I’m tense.

11:51 p.m. – Chapman strikes out Kip swinging on a 2-2 fastball.

11:51:30 p.m. – Lindor swings at the first pitch and pops to right. Not super helpful. Chapman at 38 pitches. Can’t go anymore, methinks.

Downside is that Bryant, Rizzo, and Zobrist are coming up. Get ready to feel passionate about Bryan Shaw.

11:55 p.m. – TARP TIME!!! They roll it out for the tenth, and I’m going to get fired when I show up to work at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. To be fair I will have earned the firing, I assure you.

Let’s pause to consider this moment.  This is simultaneously the best and worst World Series game of all time. On the one hand, we’re tied in the tenth inning! Two amazing teams and bullpens! Two tactical masters! On the other hand, it was sloppy, unfortunate baseball for the first six innings. And then it was tense, gross baseball for a few more. Now were stuck with a tie, no bullpens, no benches, no recourse. Both of these teams are destroyed by this season, this post season, this World Series, this game. It’s brutal.  We are tied. It’s about to be tomorrow, and my God, the Indians have a chance for a walk-off World Series win if only it would stop raining.

You guys!!  YOU FUCKING GUYS!!!

12:07 a.m. – They’re suggesting 12:15 a.m. as the start time, as in four hours after the first pitch. What if Michael McDonald (nee Martinez) factors in a win? WHAT IF?? I AM TERRIFIED OF EVERYTHING WHERE IS MY BOOZE?

Remember that the heart of the order is coming up. This inning is everything for us.

12:12 a.m. – Schwarber meanders a single past the shift. Maddon pinch hitting with Almora. No outs, Bryant coming up.

12:16 a.m. – It is helpful to be oblivious, because I was sure Bryant popped out, but it was actually a deep drive to right center. Almora tags and makes it to second.

Disagreeing with MLB managers is the cry of an internet loser.

Shaw will walk Rizzo to get to Zobrist, which I think I disagree with, but disagreeing with MLB managers is the cry of an internet loser.

First and second, one out. Shaw taking on Zobrist with the World Series in the balance.

12:20 a.m. – This game has used up language. Words have deteriorated, desiccated.

Zobrist weakly slaps one the other way for an RBI single. It was flaccid. 7-6 Chicago. I just can’t…

12:23 a.m. – Oh no. Montero slaps another one to the same soft spot, and it’s 8-6 Chicago. A pitching change.

12:27 a.m. – It is fitting that Trevor Bauer gets this call. He’s been all over this post season, for good and bad. Bases loaded, Bauer v Heyward.

12:29 a.m. – Bauer strikes out Heyward on a check. Two outs, Baez coming with bases loaded.

Who pitches for the Cubs?  Lackey? Carl Weathers?

12:32 a.m. – Bauer gets Baez to fly out weakly to center to end the inning. That’s a big boy inning, and I hope Cleveland recognizes what Trevor gave this team this year.

Meanwhile, we’ve got three outs. We need two runs. The Cubs are throwing Carl Weathers, who died tragically in the Soviet Union.

Let’s do this.

12:37 a.m. – Nap goes down swinging on a pitch WAY out of the zone. This moment looks big for Weathers, but Nap helped him out. One down.

12:39 a.m. – Ramirez grounds out to short. There’s one out left. Joe Buck is saying Joe Buck things while Brandon Guyer is, evidently, our hope.

12:42 a.m. – Because of course. Carl Weathers walks Guyer to get to Rajai Davis, and now, well, we are all passionate idiots.

12:43 a.m. – YOU GUYS. My constitution is not meant for this! Rajai drives one up the middle, Guyer scores to make it a one run game, 8-7. Mike Montgomery on to face….MICHAEL MCDONALD? (Martinez)  What is the riddle of this life, if Michael McDonald in the tenth inning is the answer?? Do questions like this exist?

12:47 a.m. – Oh dear. You’re reading this. You already know what happened.  Poor Michael McDonald. Poor Corey. Poor Andrew and Bryan and Jason and Michael B and Mike N and Frankie and Jose. Poor Terry, with his closet full of trophies.

This team was so lovable and energetic. And now that’s over. We lost the World Series by one run in extra innings.

I loved this team. It’s over. And we lost. And I’m sad

And this was fun.

And I LOVED this team.

And you did too.

Before too much longer, we’ll be in love again. I’ll see you then…

  • I hadn’t realized it until after the game, but they never showed the shirtless JR Smith on TV. Dude stands up in a suite, rips off his shirt, screams “LETS GO” and then the Indians tie the game.

  • Toddyus

    They didn’t show any more of Cleveland or Cleveland fans than they had to. Most lopsided broadcast I’ve ever witnessed and that includes the Don Criqui and Bob Trumpy days of Browns coverage.

  • NankirPhelge

    It was the Cubs world and everybody else was just living in it.

  • Chris

    Should we all attend their parade?

  • Steve Frediani

    This would be a much better article without the gay little references like “kippy” and “yes-way”

  • WFNYJon

    Thanks Steve!

  • Saggy

    nice stuff. I am now and forever thinking that Michael McDonald made the last out of the 2016 World Series.

  • Michael Martinez is totally OK with this.

  • Harv

    easy on Steve. Today he was hoping we’d party like it’s 1959.

  • Harv

    I had this whole movie in my head “based upon real life events” where J.R. stands up, takes off his shirt and an ethereal light envelopes him, followed by a crack of thunder and a winning home run with Michael Martinez splashing in slo-mo through quickly forming puddles. But Glen Close said no, once is enough.

  • Harv

    Nice, Jon. Reminds me how much tension-induced stupidity there was in this game. Umps needing video to overturn the clear drop at second. Ramirez picked off when runs desperately needed. Kluber starting the 5th. The Cubs attempted bunt squeeze. Our only half-legit centerfielder costing us two runs minimum and then, out of nowhere, hitting the shot that might have inspired a statue (rounding third with his tongue out, natch).

    The bottom line is that our depleted staff ran out of gas just in time for their excellent hitters clicked into gear. The last two days it seemed everything Schwarber, Rizzo and Zobrist hit was screaming, even foul balls. We had guys on base late in Game 5 but didn’t score. And then the slipper fell off.

  • mrdot

    Yeah, what I saw was a thinly-spread Indians team unable to keep it going for seven games. No curses or choke-jobs, just fatigue.

  • NankirPhelge

    I don’t know what you mean by that, but I was just referring to the national media’s treatment of the Tribe as as an afterthought — mere extras in Chicago’s glorious march to fulfill their destiny.

  • NankirPhelge

    It was right there for the taking several times late in Game 5, but we just couldn’t get a lousy single with RISP. That was the turning point of the Series.

  • Wil Picha

    “Cubs back up, 6-3, a score that has literally NO CHANCE of holding, as these assholes are not playing baseball, but some odd performance art that mixes bad cricket with capture the flag.” Possibly my favorite sentence of all time.

  • Matthew Grant Anson

    Can this guy be banned, please?

  • Steve Frediani

    Why? Because you’re either a fag or a fag lover?

  • Doloresjmcneil

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj135d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !mj135d:
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  • Chris

    Correct, that’s more-or-less what I was getting at. You’d think we are all expected to be super happy for them…

  • mgbode

    Let us know if he returns. Such comments are obviously not OK here.