World Series Game 7 was sloppy… and fun


Put yourself in the shoes of any player on the Cubs or Indians during Wednesday night’s World Series Game 7. It all comes down to this. Playing for all the marbles. Every mistake is magnified as it could make or break your team’s ability to win it all. I’d be nervous. Most of us would be nervous. So it’s hard to blame the sloppy play we saw in Game 7 on anything other than just being human.

In the bottom of the first inning, Cubs second baseman Javier Baez committed the first of what would be two errors. Francisco Lindor hit a sharp grounder to Baez, positioned just ahead of the outfield grass. He had to go to his right, but he appeared to slip on wet grass and had to make an off-balance throw from one knee to Anthony Rizzo at first base. The throw short-hopped Rizzo, who was unable to corral the ball, allowing Lindor to reach safely. Fortunately for Baez, starter Kyle Hendricks was able to get Mike Napoli to ground out to end the inning.

Jose Ramirez reached base to lead off the bottom of the second, hitting a line drive back up the middle, deflecting off of Hendricks to third baseman Kris Bryant. But Ramirez was quickly erased when Hendricks picked him off during the next at-bat. Lonnie Chisenhall would then single, which all else being equal, would have set up first-and-second with no outs. But Rajai Davis would end the inning by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play.

The Cubs got in on the sloppiness in the top of the third. Kyle Schwarber, who was able to easily steal second base off of starter Corey Kluber in the first inning, must have been feeling good about his wheels. He ripped a single to right field and he decided to try for a double. Chisenhall threw him out at second base for the final out of the frame.

The Indians put themselves on the board in the bottom of the third. Coco Crisp doubled, then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Roberto Perez, and Carlos Santana brought him home with a single to right field. The next batter, Jason Kipnis, hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to Russell at shortstop. The ball, however, hit the lip of the grass. Russell was still able to snag the ball but rushed a flip to Baez covering second. Baez tried to barehand the toss, but it clanked off of his hand. Santana was initially ruled out as second base umpire John Hirschbeck thought Baez lost control on the transfer, but Santana was safe upon replay review. Unfortunately, the Indians weren’t able to do anything with the rally as Lindor flied out and Mike Napoli lined out.

In the top of the fourth, the Cubs put runners on first and second to start the inning as Bryant singled and Rizzo was hit by a pitch. Ben Zobrist hit what should have been a 3-6-1 double play, but Napoli made a poor throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor, pulling him off of the bag. Thankfully for him, Lindor was able to touch a millimeter of the second base bag for at least one out, with Bryant advancing to third base. Russell would follow up by hitting a weak fly ball to shallow left-center. Center fielder Rajai Davis caught the ball and Bryant shocked the world by breaking for home. Davis must have been taken aback as well because he hesitated throwing home, then made a high throw to Perez at the plate, allowing Bryant to score. Willson Contreras, the next batter, smoked a line drive to right-center field and Davis misread it, initially breaking in rather than back. It cost him as the ball caromed off of the wall for an RBI double.

The Indians showed signs of life in the bottom of the fifth. After Santana drew a two-out walk, Hendricks exited the game in favor of Jon Lester. Kipnis tapped a grounder a few feet in front of the plate to the left side and Ross pounced on it, but made a throw wide of Rizzo at first base. Santana advanced to third and Kipnis to second. Lester then threw a curve in the dirt that caromed off of Ross towards the first base dugout, allowing Santana to score easily and Kipnis also scored, sliding just ahead of Lester’s tag at home plate to make it 5-3.

The Cubs wound up blowing a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth as closer Aroldis Chapman allowed an RBI double to Brandon Guyer followed by a two-run Davis home run. In the top of the ninth, Ross led off with a walk but was forced out on a Jason Heyward grounder. During Baez’s at-bat with one out, Heyward stole second base, then advanced to third base on a poor throw by Perez. Baez tried to knock Heyward in by bunting with two strikes, but failed.

In case you haven’t felt like reading, a summary of Wednesday night’s miscues:

  • Baez makes a poor throw to first base
  • Ramirez picked off of first base
  • Schwarber thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double
  • Baez, at second base, drops toss from Russell getting zero outs instead of at least one
  • Napoli makes a poor throw to second base, getting one out instead of two
  • Davis hesitates, then makes poor throw home, allowing Bryant to score
  • Davis misreads line drive hit by Contreras, becoming an RBI double instead of a fly out
  • Ross makes poor throw after retrieving a weak grounder
  • Ross can’t block Lester’s curve in the dirt, allowing two runs to score
  • Heyward takes an extra base while stealing on a poor throw by Perez
  • Baez bunts foul to strike out with a runner on third base and one out

That’s a lot of mistakes, but it made for a fun game where neither team truly seemed out of it, even when the Indians were down four runs. When all was said and done, the Cubs were better able to capitalize on the mistakes the Indians made and the Indians didn’t capitalize on enough of their opportunities. So it goes. The Cubs, winners of Game 7 by an 8-7 score, are your 2016 World Series champions.

Olson blasts two HRs, Acuña has 4 hits as Strider, Braves overpower Phillies 11-4

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA – Given a seven-run lead in the first inning, Atlanta right-hander Spencer Strider could relax and keep adding to his majors-leading strikeout total.

“That game felt like it was over pretty quick,” Strider said.

Ronald Acuña Jr. drove in three runs with four hits, including a two-run single in Atlanta’s seven-run first inning, and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-4 on Sunday night to split the four-game series.

“Getting a lead first is big, especially when you get that big of a lead,” Strider said. “… When we’re putting up runs, my job isn’t to be perfect. My job is to get outs.”

Following the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker announced right-hander Michael Soroka will be recalled to make his first start since the 2020 season on Monday night at Oakland.

Matt Olson hit a pair of two-run homers for Atlanta, and Strider became the fastest pitcher in modern history to reach 100 strikeouts in a season.

“It’s incredible,” said Acuña through a translator of Strider. “Every time he goes out to pitch it seems like he’s going to strike everybody out.”

Acuña hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth before Olson’s second homer to center. Acuña had two singles in the first when the Braves sent 11 batters to the plate, collected seven hits and opened a 7-0 lead. Led by Acuña and Olson, who had three hits, the Braves set a season high with 20 hits.

Strider (5-2) struck out nine while pitching six innings of two-run ball. The right-hander fired a called third strike past Nick Castellanos for the first out of the fourth, giving him 100 strikeouts in 61 innings and topping Jacob deGrom‘s 61 2/3 innings in 2021 as the fastest to 100 in the modern era.

“It’s cool,” Strider said, adding “hopefully it’ll keep going.”

Olson followed Acuña’s leadoff single with a 464-foot homer to right-center. Austin Riley added another homer before Ozzie Albies and Acuña had two-run singles in the long first inning.

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner and left fielder Kyle Schwarber each committed an error on a grounder by Orlando Arcia, setting up two unearned runs in the inning.

Strider walked Kody Clemens to open the third. Brandon Marsh followed with a two-run homer for the Phillies’ first hit. Schwarber hit a two-run homer off Collin McHugh in the seventh.


Michael Harris II celebrated the one-year anniversary of his major league debut by robbing Schwarber of a homer with a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the second. As Harris shook his head to say “No!” after coming down with the ball on the warning track, Strider pumped his fist in approval on the mound – after realizing Harris had the ball.

“He put me through an emotional roller coaster for a moment,” Strider said.


Soroka was scratched from his scheduled start at Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday, setting the stage for his final step in his comeback from two torn Achilles tendons.

“To get back is really a feather in that kid’s cap,” Snitker said.

Soroka will be making his first start in the majors since Aug. 3, 2020, against the New York Mets when he suffered a torn right Achilles tendon. Following a setback which required a follow-up surgery, he suffered another tear of the same Achilles tendon midway through the 2021 season.

Soroka suffered another complication in his comeback when a hamstring injury slowed his progress this spring.

Acuña said he was “super happy, super excited for him, super proud of him” and added “I’m just hoping for continued good health.”

Soroka looked like an emerging ace when he finished 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019 and placed second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in the NL Cy Young voting.

The Braves are 0-3 in bullpen committee games as they attempt to overcome losing two key starters, Max Fried (strained left forearm) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder inflammation) to the injured list in early May. Each is expected to miss at least two months.

RHP Dereck Rodriguez, who gave up one hit in two scoreless innings, was optioned to Gwinnett after the game to clear a roster spot for Soroka.


Phillies right-hander Dylan Covey (0-1), claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 20, didn’t make it through the first inning. Covey allowed seven runs, five earned, and six hits, including the homers by Olson and Riley.


Phillies: 3B Alex Bohm was held out with hamstring tightness. … LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) threw the bullpen session originally scheduled for Saturday. Manager Rob Thomson said there was no report that Alvarado, who was placed on the injured list on May 10, had any difficulty.


Phillies: Following an off day, LHP Ranger Suárez (0-1, 9.82 ERA) is scheduled to face Mets RHP Kodai Senga (4-3, 3.94 ERA) in Tuesday night’s opener of a three-game series in New York.

Braves: Soroka was 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA in eight games with Triple-A Gwinnett. He allowed a combined four hits and two runs over 10 2/3 innings in his last two starts. RHP Paul Blackburn (7-6, 4.28 ERA in 2022) is scheduled to make his 2023 debut for Oakland as he returns from a finger injury.