The Cleveland Indians can win their first World Series title since 1948 on Tuesday, and it’s possible that Game 6 could be decided sooner rather than later.
“The first inning is key,” former MLB pitcher Rob Dibble said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He’s got to get through that first inning, get some momentum in their dugout, try to scratch out a run for the offense, try to keep the fans in the game. For the Cubs, you want to score early to take the fans out of the game, kind of suck the life out of that ball park. (Josh) Tomlin knows 15, 18 outs, six innings, that’s all (he) needs. Tito Francona, if he has a lead, I could see Cody Allen for six outs and I could see Miller for the last six outs. You’re not going to mess around. You’re not normally managing this way in the regular season, but in the postseason, I am going to wear these guys out. I got four or five months before these guys need to throw and be ready for spring training.
“Terry Francona even said it the other day,” Dibble continued. “‘I would never manage during the regular season this way.’ But the reason why he’s doing it now is he’s got a guy like Andrew Miller. He’s got Cody Allen, who’s willing to say, ‘I’m the closer, but I just want to win a championship.’ We had the same thing in Cincinnati and we had a three-headed monster (with Norm Charlton and Randy Myers). If we had the lead (after the sixth inning), we knew the game was over. So if you’re the Indians, all you need to do is sprint to get the lead by the fifth or sixth inning, and I think the series is over.”
Looking at the Cubs, Tiki and Tierney assumed that Aroldis Chapman, who recorded an eight-out save in Game 5, would only be available in a limited capacity, if at all, on Tuesday, but Dibble said that’s not necessarily the case.
“It’s questionable how deep (Joe Maddon) thinks his bullpen is, and plus, every other starter is available,” Dibble said. “It’s all hands on deck. Even if Lester had to throw an inning, I think Jon Lester is available to go out there and throw an inning. I know if it was back in my day, everybody’s asking and begging to pitch. That’s the thing people don’t understand it. You’’re not shying away if you’re a competitor from taking the ball. Andrew Miller is the same way. Chapman will go two if he has to go two. He’ll do whatever it takes to win at this pint. If Chapman has to go two innings tonight and throw 30 pitches, I guarantee he’s ready to do that.”
Chapman threw a career-high 42 pitches in Game 5. His previous high was 36.
“Honestly, I liked being tired,” Dibble said. “If I threw three, four days in a row – I went back and looked at these numbers. I pitched in seven of the 10 postseason games we played in ’90. You’re not thinking, ‘My arm feels tired and my velocity is going to be bad.’ You’re just thinking, ‘I got to pound the strike zone.’ His stuff is so good, including his slider, that with all of those pitches, he probably has a little bit more tired arm, but you’re going to have more movement. And it’s cold. Here’s the thing people aren’t factoring in: Hitters hate it. You jam a guy’s hands, it’s almost like you’re taking a yard stick and hitting it right across the knuckles. Guys hate that. Whether he’s throwing 96, 98, 100 – if he can get in on their hands, the response is going to be a jam shot to the infield. If they have a lead, I could see (Chapman) coming out in the eighth inning.”
The Cubs are seeking their first World Series title since 1908, but in the end, Dibble doesn’t think they get in. In fact, he thinks the series ends tonight.
“I don’t think we get a Game 7,” he said. “I think the indians end this. They’re 5-1 in the postseason at home. Tomlin just needs to get 15 outs. I see Miller in the game in the sixth inning. If they have the lead, Miller might be in the game in the fifth inning. He might go three. Allen might go two. But I see this ending tonight in Cleveland.”