There was no baseball on Monday, giving you and/or your children plenty of time to eat candy and dress up in silly costumes. Hopefully you didn't overdo it with the Snickers, though, because you want to be feeling 100 percent for Game 6 on Tuesday.
The World Series returns to Cleveland with the Indians nursing a 3-2 series lead after the Cubs staved off elimination in Game 5 on Sunday. The Cubbies will have their backs against the wall again Tuesday but get to hand the ball to reigning National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Arrieta will be pitching on five days’ rest after holding the Tribe to just one run over 5 2/3 frames last week. The Indians didn’t pick up their first hit against Arrieta until the sixth inning.
The Indians will send Josh Tomlin to the hill on three days’ rest. The short rest thing shouldn’t really be much of a factor for Tomlin, though, given that he threw just 58 pitches last Friday in Game 3. The right-hander was dynamite in that outing, holding the Cubs to only two hits and one walk across 4 2/3 scoreless innings.
Arrieta has pitched well in two of three postseason outings this year, holding the Giants and Indians in check while struggling versus the Dodgers. He did scuffle a bit down the stretch of the regular season with a 4.74 ERA over his final 49 1/3 innings. Still, the Cubbies surely feel good about sending him to the rubber in this one, especially after he held the Indians’ bats at bay last week.
Tomlin was so bad in August (11.48 ERA) that the Indians held him out of the rotation for two weeks. Upon being re-inserted into the rotation, he posted a 1.75 ERA over four September starts and has since followed that up with a 1.76 mark across three postseason outings. Tomlin isn’t as flashy as Arrieta, certainly, but aside from Corey Kluber he’s probably the guy the Tribe wants on the mound at the moment.
Although the Cubs no doubt would prefer playing Game 6 and potentially Game 7 at Wrigley Field, they will welcome the return of Kyle Schwarber to their lineup in the designated hitter spot. Schwarber went 3-for-7 with two walks and two RBI in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland but was limited to pinch-hitting duty in Chicago with his knee not ready to handle the outfield yet. He made just one pinch-hitting appearance, popping out in Game 3. The Indians will also be happy to stick Carlos Santana back in the DH spot after shoehorning him into left field for a couple games at Wrigley. Additionally, Lonnie Chisenhall is expected to be back in there after missing Sunday’s game due to illness.
As good as Tomlin has been lately, if the Indians are going to close things out Tuesday, they’re probably going to do it on the strength of their bullpen as they’ve done the entire postseason. Andrew Miller finally gave up a run in Game 4, surrendering a solo homer to Dexter Fowler. It’s the only run he’s allowed in 17 innings this postseason, and he’ll be ready to go at least two innings Tuesday on two days’ rest. The Cubs could also have a dynamite lefty in their bullpen, as manager Joe Maddon indicated Monday that Jon Lester should be available in relief (although he didn't specify whether it would be for Game 6, Game 7 or both).
The first pitch for Game 6 on Tuesday is slated for 8:08 ET. Will the Indians win their first World Series since 1948 or will the Cubs live to fight another day?
Rasmus Undergoes Two Surgeries
Colby Rasmus isn’t entering free agency very smoothly.
The 30-year-old batted just .206/.286/.355 with 15 homers for the Astros this season and was limited to only 107 games while dealing with a cyst in his ear that eventually required surgery. His season also ended a few days early due to what the Astros called a hip/groin issue. Apparently that injury was also operated on.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported Monday that Rasmus underwent a pair of procedures on October 18. One was core muscle surgery and the other was to shave down a bone spur and repair his left hip labrum. Davidi did say that Rasmus is expected to be running at full speed by January and cleared for full activity heading into spring training.
Even if Rasmus is indeed 100 percent going into spring training, he’s obviously not going to have the market that he envisioned. The outfielder accepted the Astros’ $15.8 million qualifying offer last offseason in order to stick around in Houston. They’re not going to extend him a $17.2 million this winter, and Rasmus might be lucky to net a multi-year contract from a new team.
Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports has reported that the Rangers will field offers for Derek Holland this offseason. He adds that "a few teams" are showing interest in Holland and that "if a trade happens, it'll be soon." The Rangers hold an $11 million option on Holland for 2017, which MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan says they do not plan on exercising. They also hold an $11.5 million option on him for 2018 … FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has reported that Fernando Rodney, Carlos Ruiz and Pat Neshek are all available via trade. All three of Rodney ($4.5 million), Ruiz ($4.5 million) and Neshek ($6.5 million) have club options attached to them for 2017. It’s been reported previously that the Marlins did not intend to exercise Rodney’s option … Tim Tebow is considered day-to-day with right knee irritation after injuring himself on a slide in an Arizona Fall League game on Monday …