What to watch for tonight in Game 4 of the World Series:
Shut out twice in the World Series, the Cubs trail 2-1 against Cleveland. But they've been here before and thrived. Chicago was down 2-1 to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series following consecutive shutout defeats, then broke out for 23 runs over the next three games to advance. John Lackey played a part in the NLCS turnaround with four innings of two-run ball in Game 4, and he has a similar task vs. the Indians. It will be Lackey's fifth World Series start and seventh appearance. He is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA.
KLUBER VS. CUBS, ROUND 2
Can the Klubot win without fully charged batteries? The Indians are counting on it. AL Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber gets the ball at Wrigley Field, making his second start this season on short rest. His first came in Game 4 of the ALCS, when he pitched five innings of two-run ball in a 5-1 loss to Toronto. Kluber won Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night behind six-plus innings and nine strikeouts in a 6-0 victory, and the effort required only 88 pitches. Cleveland won't need Kluber to go too deep because of its Andrew Miller-led bullpen, but another masterful performance could help the Indians move within a win of the title.
BIG BAT ON THE BENCH
Just as Andrew Miller looms in the Cleveland bullpen, Kyle Schwarber poses a power threat on Chicago's bench. When will the Cubs call on him to hit? Which situation is best? Schwarber is limited to pinch-hitting duty at Wrigley Field because he hasn't been medically cleared to play the field following major knee surgery. He got his chance to do some damage in the eighth inning of Game 3 but splintered his bat on a weak popup to second against reliever Bryan Shaw.
Cleveland's bullpen tossed 4 1/3 innings Friday, but relief aces Andrew Miller and Cody Allen should be in good shape for Game 4 one night later. Miller threw 17 pitches over 1 1/3 innings in Game 3, and Allen got the save with 18 pitches over 1 1/3 innings. That duo has combined for 25 scoreless innings this postseason, accounting for seven saves, two wins and six holds. Miller hasn't allowed a run since Sept. 7, a span of 19 appearances.
Most of Chicago's biggest bats have gone quiet in the World Series, but Ben Zobrist has been outstanding. He is 6 for 12 with a hit in each game, raising his career Series average to .310 in 12 games. Zobrist had four doubles in five Series games last year while winning a championship with the Royals. He's about the only thing keeping the Cubs' offense afloat thus far amid struggles by Dexter Fowler (.154), Kris Bryant (.091), Anthony Rizzo (.182), Willson Contreras (.111), Javier Baez (.154) and Addison Russell (.091).