Game 6 matchups, decisions and trends to watch

Game 6 matchups, decisions and trends to watch

The Cubs need two wins to pull off a rare feat.

Only five teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, but after its 3-2 victory over the Indians in Sunday night's Game 5 at Wrigley Field, Chicago is a third of the way to becoming the sixth.

Game 6 tonight follows an off-day Monday. Here is a breakdown of what to watch for when the Series resumes:

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 25 CLE 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 26 CHC 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 28 CLE 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 29 CLE 7, CHC 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 30 CHC 3, CLE 2 video
Gm 6 Nov. 1 CHC 9, CLE 3 video
Gm 7 Nov. 2 CHC 8 CLE, 7 (10) video

Starting pitchers

Cubs RHP Jake Arrieta: The 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner was solid in Game 2 at Cleveland, holding the Indians to one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings, though he did walk three against six strikeouts. After throwing 98 pitches, Arrieta will start on extra rest, just as he has done in each of his first three postseason outings (3.78 ERA over 16 2/3 innings).

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While Arrieta has been solid during the playoffs, he still hasn't been the same pitcher that he was last year and for the first half of this season. In his first 14 outings in 2016, Arrieta posted a 1.74 ERA, a .488 opponent OPS and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. In his final 17 regular-season outings, he posted a 4.31 ERA, a .665 opponent OPS and 7.7 strikeouts per nine.

Indians RHP Josh Tomlin: Thanks to a newfound reliance on his breaking ball, Tomlin has exceeded any reasonable expectation this postseason, allowing just three runs in 15 1/3 innings over three starts. He's posted three of his five highest career curveball rates in those outings, topping 25 percent each time. That includes Game 3 of this Series, when Tomlin held the Cubs scoreless over 4 2/3 innings at Wrigley Field.

Tomlin gets the ball on short rest for Game 6. He has done that only one other time, and that was in his second career start in 2010. Tomlin held the Blue Jays to one run over 5 1/3 innings in that one, four days after going seven against the Yankees.

State of the bullpens

With Game 6 following an off-day, both teams should be able to lean heavily on their relievers.

Cubs: Besides Carl Edwards Jr. (10 pitches), the only Chicago reliever to pitch in Game 5 was closer Aroldis Chapman, who threw 42 pitches while picking up his first eight-out save. Still, Chapman now has a day to rest, and everyone else in Joe Maddon's bullpen should be fresh.

Maddon on Chapman's long outing

Indians: Playing from behind in Game 5, Terry Francona used two of his top three relievers in Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen, who combined for three innings. However, he stayed away from Andrew Miller, who now gets two days of rest after going two innings in Game 4.

Matchups to watch

Miller vs. Kyle Schwarber: With the Series heading back to an American League ballpark, Schwarber can return to the Cubs' lineup as the designated hitter. Unless the Indians fall significantly behind early, that likely sets up a matchup between these two lefties. In Game 1, Schwarber worked a full-count walk in his first encounter with Miller, but whiffed with two runners on base in the next at-bat.

Miller gets out of trouble

Arrieta vs. Francisco Lindor: The 22-year-old switch-hitter has been the Tribe's best hitter this postseason. His 18 hits, including eight in the World Series, are six more than any of his teammates, and he has seven multi-hit efforts.

Final thoughts

The Indians have history on their side. Going back to 1980, each of the last seven teams to take a 3-2 World Series lead back home for Games 6 and 7 has won a championship. In all World Series with a 2-3-2 format, teams in that situation are 17-6.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.