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Tomlin on short rest vs. Arrieta on extra rest as the Indians try to clinch a title

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The Game: Chicago Cubs @ Cleveland Indians, World Series Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Progressive Field, Cleveland
The Channel: FOX
The Starters: Jake Arrieta (Cubs) vs. Josh Tomlin (Indians)

The Upshot:

The cliche in baseball is that you have to take things one game at a time. The reason for that is to keep one focused on the task at hand and to not get too far ahead of oneself. In this instance it’s probably good for helping the Cubs maintain their sanity too as, if they reach a Game 7, they have to face Corey Kluber which has not been fun for them thus far. While Josh Tomlin gave them nothing to work with in Game 3, he lasted fewer than five innings and has not historically been the type to string together a bunch of dominant starts. His nice outing last week notwithstanding, he’s the number 3 guy in this rotation for a reason and the Cubs have to have viewed him as a guy they can get to before the series started.

Chicago counters with  Jake Arrieta, who won Game 2 last Wednesday, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning while throwing only 98 pitches. Tomlin, who pitched on Friday, is coming in on short rest. Arrieta, is on an extra rest, having enjoyed five full days off since his last start. You have to think that the Cubs have the advantage when it comes to starters in this game. That said, it’s a potential clincher for the Indians, so if they get a lead, expect Terry Francona to go to Andrew Miller as early as we’ve seen him do so and to ride him hard as he has been ridden all postseason.

In Chicago’s favor is the fact that the move back to the American League park gives the Cubs Kyle Schwarber in the lineup. In the Indians favor: home cookin’, home cheering and the knowledge that there will be champagne on the premises, waiting for them to uncork if they take care of business tonight.

The last time a team came back from being down 3-1 was in 1985, when the Royals did it. The last time a team came back from being down 3-1 to win it while having to win Games 6 and 7 on the road was 1979 when the Pirates did it. Now the Cubs, the consensus best team in baseball all season, has to do it.

Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.