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Memo to Cubs: Kyle Schwarber can't win World Series by himself

Somebody else has to get hits, drive in runs
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Posted at 5:14 AM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-29 08:14:40-04

CHICAGO  -- If the Cubs learned anything Friday night, it's that they can't expect Kyle Schwarber to win the World Series single-handedly.

As in Game 1, the young slugger from Middletown, Ohio, had an eighth-inning chance to tie the game with a homer but didn't come through, and the Indians escaped with a 1-0 victory.  It was their second shutout in three games.

The left-handed Schwarber came in as a pinch-hitter with one out and nobody on against right-handed Bryan Shaw. It was a perfect situation, since the Indians had already used shutdown lefty reliever Andrew Miller. Miller had walked and fanned Schwarber in two appearances in Game 1, and he had struck out the top of the Cubs' order  – Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo – in the sixth inning Friday.

The Wrigley Field crowd went crazy when Schwarber, who got two RBI singles in Game 2, came to the plate. They were thinking of the 100 percent healthy Schwarber of last year, who hit five homers in nine postseason games. But Shaw never gave Schwarber a pitch he could hit for a homer. Shaw busted  him up and in, broke his bat, and got Schwarber to hit an easy pop-up to short.

The Cubs sent up their 3-4-5 hitters in the ninth, but Javier Baez left runners at second and third when he struck out to end the game. Now they're down 2-1 and looking down the barrel of Corey Kluber's gun in Game 4 Saturday. John Lackey pitches for the Cubs.

Leave it to the Indians' bullpen to crash a Wrigley Field party 71 years in the making. The Indians set a major-league record with their fifth shutout this postseason. The Cubs have been blanked four times in their last eight games.

Pinch-hitter Coco Crisp delivered an RBI single in the seventh off Carl Edwards Jr., and that was all Cleveland needed to win the first Series game at Wrigley since 1945.

Oddly enough, the wind was blowing out.

But the Cubs managed just five hits and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Just as they did against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, they will have to rally from a 2-1 deficit if they are finally going to win it all.

"We have seen good pitching," manager Joe Maddon said. "The one component of our team that's going to blossom over the next couple years is the offensive side. I think what you're seeing on defense and arm strengths and baserunning abilities, that's going to be pretty much static. But the part that's going to keep getting better is what we're doing at the plate. So this is a great experience for us."

 Not if they don't start hitting Saturday night.