Before getting another crack at Kluber, Cubs must solve Tomlin in Game 6
Fans can't be blamed for overlooking Game 6 and worrying about how the Chicago Cubs are going to solve Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber in the deciding game of the World Series.
The Cubs won't make the same mistake. They are well aware that before dealing with Kluber, they have to beat Josh Tomlin in Game 6 Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
"Hopefully we can get out there and win Game 6 because you never know what can happen in a Game 7," third baseman Kris Bryant said after the Cubs edged the Indians in Game 5 at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs won 3-2 Sunday night, and they now trail the Indians 3 games to 2 in the Fall Classic.
With Kluber looming in Game 7, the Cubs need to have much more success against Tomlin in Game 6 to get a third crack at the Indians' ace starter.
Tomlin faced the Cubs in Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field Friday night and was impressive, allowing 2 hits over 4.2 innings in Cleveland's 1-0 win.
On Tuesday night, Tomlin takes the mound with three days of rest for only the second time in his career. On the flip side, the right-hander threw only 58 pitches in Game 3.
"It's obviously a little better than throwing 100 or 110, but in this environment you're still getting up and down four or five times and it's a little more stressful than a regular season start," Tomlin said. "But the body's feeling good. Everything's feeling the same as it did last start, so hopefully that bodes well for me."
Tomlin has come a long way from August, when he was 0-5 with an 11.48 ERA. In 3 postseason starts, he's 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA.
"If Tomlin doesn't win, he won't beat himself and he won't back down," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "All the things we talk about, not backing down from a challenge and valuing winning and things like that, being a good teammate, he embodies all those better or as good as anybody I've ever seen."
Tomlin opposes Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, who started against the Indians in Game 2 at Cleveland and got the win after pitching 5.2 innings and allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks.
"It's going to be cold, probably, like it was when we were out there last time," Arrieta said. "I'm not really going to expose everything or the way I'm going to attack those guys. I just want to execute with quality in and out of the strike zone, and try to get ahead in the count as early and as often as I can to open up some more options for myself."
• Follow Scot's baseball reports on Twitter @sgregor.