The Associated Press
Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND – Josh Tomlin looked forward to Halloween and dressing up with his daughters, 2-year-old Makenzie Jae and 1-year-old Myla Kate.
”I might be daddy piggy,” he said.
With Cleveland anticipating the city’s first World Series championship since 1948 – and its first title clincher at home since 1920 – the Indians’ Game 6 starter was happy to be back home ahead of his outing against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night.
Chicago closed to 3-2 with Sunday’s win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, who haven’t won it all since 1908, are trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals and the first to do it by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rather than celebrate in the cramped visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley, the Indians are in position to party in their own digs at Progressive Field – where a makeshift shrine to Jobu, the Voodoo idol from the Cleveland clubhouse in the 1989 film ”Major League,” was erected in a stall between the lockers of Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis.
”He’s just chilling over there, doing his thing,” Napoli said.
Cleveland fans have missed out on being there for this year’s big events: First, the Cavaliers completed their NBA Finals comeback on the road, beating Golden State in Game 7 for the city’s first major pro sports championship in 52 years. Then, the Indians clinched the AL Central crown at Detroit, won the Division Series in Boston and the AL Championship Series at Toronto.
”It’ll be ideal. We have a better situation to do it now,” Kipnis said. ”It would be nice to actually do one in front of the home crowds.”
Jake Arrieta, who pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning to win Game 2, starts on five days’ rest for the Cubs against Tomlin, who will have had three days off since throwing 58 pitches in his Game 3 no-decision.
If the Cubs force Game 7, Kyle Hendricks would pitch on regular rest for Chicago against Corey Kluber, who would make another start on short rest and try to become the first pitcher to win three starts in one Series since Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1968.
Both teams were among the big leagues’ best at home this year. Chicago led with a 57-24 record, and Cleveland was tied for second with 53 victories in its own ballpark.
”When you’re on the road, one, it’s kind of you against the world, which is OK,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. ”But the biggest thing of all is when you’re the home team, you hit last, so you get to use your bullpen differently, and that’s a huge advantage.”