MLB: World Series-Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians

Playoff Prospectus: PECOTA Odds and World Series Game 6 Preview

This piece, written by Baseball Prospectus’s Editor-in-Chief Aaron Gleeman, forms part of the main site’s comprehensive coverage of the postseason, “Playoff Prospectus”.

November baseball!

We all know what’s at stake here. By the end of the night either Cleveland will be celebrating their first championship in 68 years or everyone in the city will be re-thinking how funny all of those “the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals” jokes really were.

Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his Game 2 start in Cleveland, but then failed to make it out of the inning and ended up needing 98 pitches to record 17 outs. It was an outing typical of his season as a whole, with Arrieta being both very difficult to hit and very shaky with his command. He’s yet to go past six innings this postseason and has done so only once since September 1, allowing 24 runs in 46 innings during that span. Arrieta is the reigning Cy Youngwinner and anything but an easy matchup, but it’s been quite a while since he closely resembled the dominant force from 2015.

Josh Tomlin has never resembled a dominant force, topping out in the high 80s and serving up 36 homers in 174 innings on the way to a 4.40 ERA during the regular season, but he’s allowed a total of just three runs in three postseason starts while relying more on his curveball. He’s also thrown 5.0, 5.2, and 4.2 innings in those three playoff starts, so clearly Cleveland knows better than to trust Tomlin without limitations, but it’s tough not to be impressed with what he’s done against three very good lineups. At the very least, this is less of a pitching mismatch than “the reigning Cy Young winner versus a soft-tosser with a 4.40 ERA” might suggest, although Tomlin working on short rest makes trusting him even tougher.

Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) at Cleveland (Josh Tomlin), 8:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 58% Cubs, 42% Cleveland

Projected Starting Lineups

Cubs vs. Tomlin (R) Cleveland vs. Arrieta (R)
Dexter Fowler (S), CF Carlos Santana (S), DH
Kris Bryant (R), 3B Jason Kipnis (L), 2B
Anthony Rizzo (L), 1B Francisco Lindor (S), SS
Ben Zobrist (S), LF Mike Napoli (R), 1B
Kyle Schwarber (L), DH Jose Ramirez (S), 3B
Willson Contreras (R), C Lonnie Chisenhall (L), RF
Jorge Soler (R), RF Coco Crisp (S), LF
Javier Baez (R), 2B Tyler Naquin (L), CF
Addison Russell (R), SS Roberto Perez (R), C


To read the rest of the piece, please head on over to the main site.

Lead photo courtesy Ken Blaze—USA Today Sports.

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