Down a game, Cubs must face historic streak

October 26th, 2016

CLEVELAND -- Each of the past 14 times the home team took Game 1 of the World Series, that team hoisted a championship trophy in the end. If the Cubs want to snap that streak after a 6-0 loss to , , and the Indians on Tuesday, the historical record suggests they would do well to win Game 2.

According to Elias, in best-of-seven World Series that followed a 2-3-2 format, teams that lost Games 1 and 2 on the road came back to win the Series just seven of 38 times, or 18 percent. Road teams that managed a split increased their chances to 22 of 49 times, or 45 percent. It's the difference between very long odds and nearly even money.

Game 2: Today, 7 p.m. ET game time on FOX (6 p.m. ET pregame show on FS1)

Chicago's hopes to avoid an 0-2 hole will ride on the right arm of , scheduled to start tonight opposite Cleveland's .

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"We're not going to go press," said Cubs slugger , who went 1-for-3 with a long double and a big walk in his first Major League game since the first week of April. "We're not going to put all this pressure on [ourselves] because we think we need to win ballgames. We're a good baseball club. We're here for a reason. So go out there, play our game, we'll be fine."

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The winner of World Series Game 1 has gone on to win 12 of the past 13 and 17 of the past 19 World Series. The Cubs will try to buck that trend, too.

"If it were a five-game series, we might feel a little different," said. "But we still have some games to play."

Said Cubs manager Joe Maddon: "Our guys looked really good. They were great in the dugout today. It's the first game. I'm fine, we're fine."

Here are some reasons to believe Maddon had a case:

They made Miller work

Cleveland's lanky left-hander pitched two scoreless innings and still has not allowed a postseason run, but the Cubs coaxed 46 pitches, Miller's highest total this postseason. In the seventh inning, Chicago loaded the bases with nobody out in a 3-0 game, and Miller escaped. In the eighth, the Cubs put two more runners on to bring the tying run to the plate.

"That's good for us," Cubs first baseman said. "Guys getting to see him the first game, I think, is always in the hitters' advantage. He's as advertised. He bears in when he needs to and he gets outs, and that's the name of the game."

"We know he's 'The Guy,'" Bryant said. "He's thrown a lot this postseason. Anytime you can get the key guy in the bullpen to throw a lot, that bodes well for us."

Asked whether Miller would be available for Game 2, Indians manager Terry Francona could not commit.

"I just think that there's a lot that can happen," Francona said. "One, we might not have the lead. Two, it might rain. Three, we could have a lead and he won't be available for as much."

They will get another crack at Kluber

In the National League Championship Series, the Cubs were shut out on two hits in Game 2 by and . In a Game 6 rematch, the Cubs touched Kershaw for five runs on seven hits, including six for extra bases, and punched a ticket to the World Series.

Kluber, who struck out nine while yielding four hits and no walks in six-plus scoreless innings on Tuesday, could pitch again in Game 4 and in Game 7, if the Series gets that far.

"We have a young group that usually gets better the more they see guys," said veteran Cubs catcher . "I'm holding out hope that that's going to help us moving forward. I don't want to take anything away from [Kluber's] performance. He was as dominant as it gets. This guy is nasty. But I know he'll pitch again, and hopefully there's a better outcome for the Cubs."

They have rebounded before

Yes, the Cubs played in front all season, jumping to the Majors' best early-season record, then essentially coasting to the NL Central crown. But they fell behind in the NLCS after being shut out in Games 2 and 3 before springing back to life in Game 4 in the wake of a surprise bunt. Chicago outscored L.A., 23-6, over the final three games of the series.

"We saw the best three arms that they have," said, referring to Kluber, Miller and Allen. "So using that, to go into [Game 2], we know that we're not going to face someone as good. But we've still got to come ready to play."