LEADING OFF: Can Bauer, Indians celebrate at Wrigley?
What to watch for tonight in Game 5 of the World Series:
Trevor Bauer has a chance to pitch the Cleveland Indians to their first World Series title since 1948 in Game 5 at Wrigley Field. Manager Terry Francona is sticking by the oddball right-hander, even after he struggled in a Game 2 loss to the Cubs while pitching with a gash on his pinkie he got tinkering with a toy drone. Bauer's finger should be fine to pitch, but there is some concern about what he'll be able to do at the plate. The 25-year-old is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in three appearances in these playoffs.
Jon Lester tries to play stopper for the Cubs. He's pitched in one World Series Game 5 before, delivering 7 2/3 pivotal innings for Boston in a 3-1 win over St. Louis in 2013, but this will be the first time Lester pitches for a team trailing in the Series. Even after allowing three runs in Game 1, Lester is 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA career in the Series. The co-MVP of the NL Championship Series has been outstanding in his other three starts this postseason and may have to dominate for a Chicago team that's averaged 1.75 runs per game against Cleveland.
Francona said he'll go back to Mike Napoli at first base for Game 5. The jolly slugger didn't start in Game 4 because Francona wanted to play Carlos Santana at first base, and even though the move led to Santana's three-run homer, Francona said he ''still wasn't pleased that Nap didn't play, because ... he's kind of the heart and soul of our team.'' Napoli - the namesake behind the ''Party at Napoli's'' meme that's accompanied the Indians all season - is batting .179 with one homer in 12 postseason games.
The only good news for Chicago in a 7-2 loss Saturday night was that a couple key bats finally began to break out. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler homered and doubled, lifting his Series average to .235, while Anthony Rizzo also had two hits and an RBI. Even Jason Heyward - a big-money free agent acquisition who disappointed in his first year with the Cubs - got into it with a pair of singles. Of course, more help is still needed. Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Willson Contreras and Javier Baez are a combined 6 for 59 (.102) in the Series.