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Ready for WS rematch? Cubs definitely are

Tribe has moved on, but trip will be special for 2016 champs
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

Since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the Cubs and Indians have only faced each other in innocent Spring Training games in Arizona. On Tuesday, they'll meet at Progressive Field for the first time since Nov. 2, 2016, when the two teams played a nail-biting finale that fans of both franchises will never forget.

Tuesday is the first game of a two-game Interleague series, and the Cubs' Tyler Chatwood will face the Indians' Josh Tomlin. After playing two in Cleveland this week, the Cubs and the Tribe will meet again May 22-23 at Wrigley Field.

Since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the Cubs and Indians have only faced each other in innocent Spring Training games in Arizona. On Tuesday, they'll meet at Progressive Field for the first time since Nov. 2, 2016, when the two teams played a nail-biting finale that fans of both franchises will never forget.

Tuesday is the first game of a two-game Interleague series, and the Cubs' Tyler Chatwood will face the Indians' Josh Tomlin. After playing two in Cleveland this week, the Cubs and the Tribe will meet again May 22-23 at Wrigley Field.

"It will remind them of the World Series," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said about the Cubs coming back to Progressive Field. "For us, we play at home every time. I think it might be a little bit more special for them, because they're going back to where they won it all. Once we go to their place, then it will be like, 'Yeah, that's cool.'

"At home, playing against them, I don't really think it will mean much [for the Indians]," Lindor said. "I'm just looking forward to seeing my boy, [Javier] Baez."

Baez is putting on quite the show with the Cubs. On April 10, he was batting .194, but in 10 games since then, he's gone 17-for-45 (.378) with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 19 RBIs. In Game 7, Baez led off the fifth inning with a home run off Corey Kluber to open a 4-1 lead.

The Tribe tied the game at 6 in the eighth on Rajai Davis' two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman. The game was then interrupted by a brief but pertinent rain delay in which Chicago outfielder Jason Heyward gathered his teammates in the weight room for a motivational speech. The Cubs responded by scoring three runs in the 10th against Bryan Shaw, including a go-ahead RBI double by Ben Zobrist, who was named World Series Most Valuable Player. On Tuesday, the Cubs will be back in that weight room.

Video: WS2016 Gm7: Heyward on calling a team meeting

"I think the momentum definitely shifted when that happened," the Cubs' Kris Bryant said of Heyward's speech. "It's definitely a big point in the World Series, and just allowing ourselves to gather and realize what just happened. We came out [for the 10th] and forgot all about [losing the lead]."

Zobrist called his hit "magical."

"You're just trying to grind against a guy like Bryan Shaw, who throws a nasty 98-mph cutter, and you see the ball shoot past the third baseman," Zobrist said. "For me, it's like I don't remember anything from that moment until I got near second base and I knew we had scored, and I jumped in the air. I still get chills when I think about it, just because of the magnitude of the moment and being able to come through for the club in the situation. Obviously it's the biggest baseball memory I'll ever have."

Video: WS2016 Gm7: Zobrist gives Cubs lead on double in 10th

That World Series ended the Cubs' 108-year championship drought, which is why so many of the team's fans made it to Progressive Field for Game 7.

"During the game, it was amazing," Zobrist said of the fans. "It felt like it was half and half -- half Cubs fans, half Cleveland. When things happened, there was always a roar, so it was just that constant excitement, never-a-dull-moment kind of game, Game 7."

The Indians didn't share the same goosebumps moments, which is understandable. They've moved on.

"[In 2017], the first game of Spring Training was a night game, that was the first time we saw them, and that kind of brought back all the emotions and all those memories," Cleveland's Brandon Guyer said. "This is the first time seeing them at our place, so it could bring back memories of Game 7 and everything that went down."

Video: WS2016 Gm7: Cubs win World Series with Game 7 win

After the 2016 World Series, Guyer said he had a few flashbacks.

"Little things would pop up -- you'd see [the Cubs] play, things like that," Guyer said. "But this season, it's less. The more you're away from it, you don't think about it as much. I think a lot of us are like that, just trying to get back to that place."

Both teams are. The Indians won the American League Central last year but lost to the Yankees in the AL Division Series; the Cubs reached the National League Championship Series but lost to the Dodgers.

Lindor says he doesn't think too much about their seven-game battle with the Cubs in 2016.

"It's in the past," Lindor said. "There's nothing I can do about it. It was definitely a cool experience. I was blessed to be in it, but it didn't turn out the way I wanted, so I kind of forget about it."

The Cubs haven't.

"[That World Series] changed the identity of the Chicago Cubs," Anthony Rizzo said. "Your dream is to win a World Series. It doesn't matter what club, but when you do it with Chicago, it's a little more special."

"It'll be fun [to be back]," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It'll be fun to walk those steps. The locker room, the weight room where the boys got together and rallied to come out in that extra innings and did what they did. It was pretty spectacular, and I think retrospectively, when it's all laid out there years from now, it's going to be looked at as one of the more interesting World Series or seventh games ever played."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Owen Perkins and Elliott Smith contributed to this story.

Chicago Cubs