The Cubs didn’t seem to have any rust to shake off on Tuesday, despite an unexpected break over the weekend.
The Cubs beat the Indians 7-1 in their return to Progressive Field, the ballpark where they claimed the 2016 World Series title.
Before the game, Cubs manager David Ross set up his pregame Zoom session with reporters in the visiting manager’s office. It was the same room where former Cubs manager Joe Maddon sat Ross down to talk about the then-backup catcher's role for Game 7 of the World Series.
“A lot of memories walking down the street,” Ross said, "walking to the park today, walking in, for sure.”
Here are takeaways from the Cubs’ win:
Cubs avoid Clevinger
Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger was originally scheduled to start Tuesday. But instead, he spent the evening in quarantine and on the restricted list.
Clevenger apologized Tuesday for violating health and safety protocols by leaving the team hotel without permission while in Chicago for the Indians’ series against the White Sox.
Instead, Adam Plutko drew the start. He began the season in the bullpen but stretched out to 78 pitches on Tuesday. In four innings, Plutko allowed one run on four hits.
The Indians’ rotation is considered one of the best, if not the best, in baseball this season. The Cubs benefitted from getting to the Cleveland bullpen early. A five-run sixth inning included a three-run home run by Jason Heyward.
Lester stays steady
Jon Lester recorded his second straight quality start on Tuesday. Including the one run he allowed in six innings Tuesday, Lester has only given up two runs this season.
Lester was originally slated to pitch in the Cubs’ series opener at St. Louis. When that series was cancelled, due to three more positive COVID-19 tests from the Cardinals, Lester threw a bullpen session instead on Saturday to stay sharp.
Lester didn’t pitch like his schedule had been altered. He held Cleveland scoreless through five innings. The only run he allowed came in the sixth, when the Cubs had a six-run lead.
Cubs second baseman Jason Kipnis faced the Indians for the first time in his career, after spending nine seasons in Cleveland. He signed with the Cubs this offseason as a free agent.
The Indians played a tribute video for him before the game, which included an extensive montage of game-winning hits and plays.
During the game, Kipnis hit a double into right field to start his night at the plate. He also scored on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.
Where they stand
The Cubs improved to an 11-3 record, still leading the NL Central in wins despite having played three fewer games than the Reds at No. 2 in the division.
Next, the Cubs remain in Cleveland for the second game of a two-game series.