By Kevin Powell
CLEVELAND—The Cubs core needs to carry the offense against Josh Tomlin and the Tribe. Joe Maddon has Kyle Schwarber hitting second, followed by Kris Byrant and Anthony Rizzo at cleanup. I don’t care who the pitcher is, that is one tough lineup to get through. Schwarber in the two hole makes sense, last season he hit .278 against righties, just .143 against lefties. Tomlin is a soft-tossing righty.
With Javy Baez and Willson Contreras struggling at the plate, the Cubs need the heart of the lineup to come through. Baez has just three hits with nine strikeout’s this series. Contreras has one hit. The big bats need to come through, especially before Terry Francona turns things over to the near unhittable duo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
Schwarber hit second many times last season, and it creates an overwhelming start to Tomlin’s day. Fowler is always a tough at-bat, then Schwarber-Bryant-Rizzo-Zobrist?! Have fun with that, Josh Tomlin. Here’s the rest of the lineup:
ARRIETA vs TOMLIN
Tomlin has been good this postseason with a 1.76 ERA, but Francona has kept him on a short leash. He hasn’t pitched more than 5 2/3 innings in the playoffs. He’ll be pitching on three days rest after giving up just three hits in in Game 3. The Indians need him to at least keep it close until they turn it over to the bullpen.
Arrieta was able to pitch out of a first inning jam in Game 2 at Progressive Field, and then cruised, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. It’s been all about fastball command for the Cy Young winner, and if he has it, he’s dominant. The righty needs to pitch like he did in Game 2, not like his start in LA when he gave up four runs in five innings.
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Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720