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Addison Russell’s historical night powers Cubs to a decisive Game 7
- Updated: November 2, 2016
Addison Russell put the Chicago Cubs on his back, driving in 6 runs to tie a World Series record, while also carrying his team to victory in Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians were in a great position on Tuesday night, being up 3-2 at home with a chance to secure a World Series title. Facing elimination, the Cubs needed someone to step up in order to keep their World Series hopes alive. That’s when Russell came out of his slum and led his ball club to a decisive Game 7, a critical matchup that will be played tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST.
It all started in the 1st inning, with the Cubs holding 1-0 lead, when Russell decided to add some more runs; striking a pop-fly towards centre field. A communication error by Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin led to the ball dropping into the outfield, allowing Russell to pick up a 2-run RBI double with teammates Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist coming home to give the Cubs a quick 3-0 lead.
A couple innings later, Russell was back in the batters box again. This time, the bases were loaded and he was up against Indians reliever, Dan Otero. After looking past 2 balls, Russell crushed a 2-0 pitch over the centre field wall for the Cubs’ first ever grand slam in World Series history; giving his ball club a hefty 7-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning. A 2-run HR from Rizzo would later be added, and the Cubs would end up holding on for a 9-3 victory to force a decisive Game 7.
Russell was locked in against the Indians in a must-win Game 6, going 2-5, with a single run and a grand slam. The Cubs’ shortstop also drove in a whopping 6 RBIs in this 9 inning contest, tying a World Series record. All of those 6 RBIs came within the first 3 innings, making Russell the only player in World Series history to drive in that many runs through that time span.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 2, 2016
Coming into Game 6, Russell was in a serious batting slump. He struggled to find his groove during the first 5 games of the World Series, posting a batting average of .211, to go along with 4 hits, 2 RBIs, a single run, 4 total bases, while also striking out 4 times. It was a somewhat surprising slump, considering that Russell was very strong against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS; hitting .276, to go along with 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 HRs, and 4 RBIs. It looks like the 22-year-old got hot just in time, saving his team from going home and giving his squad one more shot at winning the World Series.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 2, 2016
Because of Russell’s performance, it all comes down to Game 7, between two teams who have a glaring shot at the World Series title.
It looked like the Indians were in a great position with a 3-1 lead, but are now on the heels of becoming the first team since the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals to lose after holding such a big lead. They’ll rely on their starting pitcher and ace, Corey Kluber, who will become the 3rd pitcher in the Wild Card era to start 3 games in one World Series. The 30-year-old has been lights out against the Cubs so far, posting a 2-0 record, to go along with a 0.75 ERA, and 15 strikeouts. He’ll have to be as consistent as he has been for the Indians, to have a chance at ending their 68-year Championship drought.
The Cubs are looking to become the first team since the Kansas City Royals in 1985 to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Also, the Cubs are looking to snap an even longer title drought than the Indians, with the franchise last winning the World Series in 1908. The Cubs will turn to the youngest pitcher on their rotation, in Kyle Hendricks. The 26-year-old wasn’t great in his only start in Game 3, throwing for 4.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks, and posting 6 strikeouts. He’ll have to perform at his very best, if the Cubs want to complete this huge comeback.
The must-watch Game 7 of the World Series will take place on Wednesday at Progressive Field, with the national anthem scheduled at 8:00 p.m. EST.
All stats for this article are from baseball-reference,com and MLB.com
You can follow Peter Ash on Twitter @peterash_