Here we go.
The Cleveland Indians lead the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, entering Game 6 of the World Series.
The next 27 outs will decide if the Tribe will be either celebrating its first championship since 1948 and second won Cleveland teams this year, or preparing for a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday night.
The Indians' postseason breakout pitcher Josh Tomlin will be on the mound tonight. He'll be tasked with stopping Cubs offense, known for its blend of power, speed, and great fundamentals.
Pitching for the Cubs will be All-Star and Cy Young Candidate Jake Arrieta, who had a great regular season but struggled this postseason allowing 7 runs in 16.2 innings.
Power Surge At Progressive
The Indians have been a completely different team at home in both the regular and postseason, but that isn't the only advantage they have shown. The Tribe in the regular season flexed its muscles both at home and against right-handed pitching. Of all the home runs that Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Mike Napoli hit this season, 60.4% came at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario and 80.2% were thrown by righties. If Arrieta struggles against this lineup, Cleveland fans hopes won't be the only thing over the moon.
At-Bats To Grind
In Game 5, Jon Lester was dialed in and the Indians weren't helping themselves with their plate discipline. Of the 21 batters that Lester faced, 8 batters took 3 pitches or less, with a single by Rajai Davis and a home run by Jose Ramirez being the only two at-bats resulting in hits. By comparison, only 5 at-bats forced Lester to throw 6 or more pitches, including a foul out by P Trevor Bauer. The Tribe needs to force Arrieta to throw strikes and get deep into counts to send him to the showers early.
Tomlin Flying Cubs Offense Into The Bermuda Triangle
Josh Tomlin doesn't have to be perfect or otherworldly in order for the Tribe to win tonight. A championship performance for Tomlin would be throwing at least 5 innings before handing the baseball off to the Indians' "Bermuda Triangle." Cleveland's bullpen trio of Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller has been phenomenal this postseason, making some of the MLB's best offenses vanish into thin air. Tomlin doesn't have to be spectacular, just don't fumble the hand-off.
This is it. The lineups are in. The lights are on. The fans are flooding Gateway Plaza.
The Indians are ready to win the World Series.
All statistics used in this article are from baseball-reference.com and ESPN.