CLEVELAND - To a man, the Cubs essentially channeled the announcers in "The Waterboy" after Game 6 of the World Series Tuesday night:
"Last game of the year. Can't hold anything back now."
Jake Arrieta just threw 102 pitches, but he's ready to roll out of the bullpen if called upon. Same for Jon Lester, who got the Game 5 victory.
And you better believe Aroldis Chapman is ready, even though he just threw 62 pitches in the last two games.
"One hundred percent," Chapman said through an interpreter in the visiting dugout at Progressive Field Tuesday night. "I'm ready for whatever they ask me."
After throwing a season high in pitches (42) to get the final eight outs of tense, pressure-packed Game 5, Joe Maddon again brought Chapman in in the seventh inning Tuesday night, even though the Cubs were up 7-2 at the time.
"I thought the game could have been lost right there if we did not take care of it properly," Maddon explained. "The meaty part of their batting order. If you don't get through that, there is no tomorrow."
Chapman entered with runners on first and second and two outs and induced Francisco Lindor - who entered play hitting .421 in the World Series - to ground out to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, with Chapman covering and winning the race to the bag.
Chapman rolled his ankle on the play, but he assured Maddon and the Cubs coaching staff he was fine to go back out there.
The 105-mph closer got all three outs in the eighth inning before walking the leadoff batter in the ninth.
With a 9-2 cushion, Maddon figured he had gotten enough out of Chapman, utilizing Pedro Strop and Travis Wood for the final three outs.
Maddon admitted he was watching Chapman on a pitch count and had spoken to the big left-hander before the game about possibly coming in in the seventh again.
Chapman - who ended up throwing 20 pitches Tuesday night - prefers to work clean innings, coming in with nobody on base and ideally in save situations in the ninth inning with the adrenaline pumping.
But Maddon has helped change that mindset, utilizing Chapman at the most crucial part the game. And in the World Series, the adrenaline is always pumping.
With Game 7 looming, Chapman maintained he has no ill effects from all the pitches he's thrown the last two games, especially in high-leverage situations. He also claims his ankle is not an issue after the play at first base.
He can't recall a time he's thrown that many pitches in back-to-back games (though there was a day off in between).
"I feel strong, I feel healthy," Chapman said, who reiterated he put everything he's had on the line the last two games.
Chapman said he doesn't know anything of a pitch limit for Game 7 and he doesn't want one. He knows he has three months to rest after Wednesday night in Cleveland.
Chapman also said he's not worrying about his health entering free agency, as his contract is up as of next Tuesday morning.
"I'm just focused on day-to-day, game-to-game," he said. "All that will take care of itself later on.
"I'm trying to win, win, win. I'll worry about that later."