The Fall Classic Facts: Recent history brings the Cubs some positivity

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19:  John Lackey #41 of the Chicago Cubs delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: John Lackey #41 of the Chicago Cubs delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – If you are a fan of the team on the North Side, you know when things are getting better when you look to the past to feel good about the present.

What’s even better is Cubs fans don’t have to dig through the record books to feel better after a 1-0 loss to the Indians in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night.

While the team was shutout for a fourth time in the postseason, Joe Maddon’s group has already proved it can overcome not only a shutout but also being down in a series after the third game.

Similar circumstances played out during the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers when the Cubs were not only shutout 1-0 at home in Game 2 but also 6-0 in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium two days later.

Were the Cubs fazed? Not at all.

They not only won the next three games but saw their offense came alive. A ten-run effort gave the Cubs a Game 4 win and eight more on the board brought the Cubs a third win in the series in Game 5.

When Clayton Kershaw went to the mound in Game 6 at Wrigley  – six days after pitching a shutout against them – the Cubs erupted for five runs in five innings to win the National League pennant.

Similar circumstances play out tonight in Game 4 as the Cubs face Corey Kluber for the first time since he shut them out in Cleveland in a Game 1 win at Progressive Field.

Perhaps history can repeat itself? The Cubs did better seeing Kershaw for a second time but Kluber was very good in his one appearance at Wrigley Field back in 2015. In 7 2/3 innings in a make-up game against the Cubs on August 24th, Kluber allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 11 batters.

The Cubs went onto win the game in the ninth inning on a Kris Bryant home run – one of the iconic moments from the Cubs’ 97-win season.

NOTHING LACKING IN THE CLASSIC

While the majority of the Cubs are not used to the spotlight of the World Series, John Lackey has enjoyed his share of time in baseball’s championship series.

Tonight the pitcher takes the mound for the Cubs in his first and likely only appearance in the series. Lackey has started six games in the World Series and has a 2-1 record with a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 innings of work.

But the situations which Lackey has been in set him apart from other pitchers when it comes to experience.

In 2002 Lackey was a member of the Angels and a starter for Game 7 of the World Series against the Giants. He would pitch five innings, allowing just one run and striking out four in picking up the win that gave the franchise its first championship.

Eleven years later, Lackey was on the mound again in a pressure situation while a member of the Red Sox. Starting in Game 6 at Fenway Park against the Cardinals, he had a shot to clinch the first World Series title at Fenway Park in 95 years. Like in Anaheim, Lackey was strong with a title in sight as he went 6 2/3 innings with just one run to help Boston to a 6-1 win and their third World Series title in nine years.

IN GAME 4 OF THE SERIES….

Game 4 of the World Series was at first lucky for the Cubs when they started Fall Classic play, but in their later years of making the series it turned out to be a problematic contest.

After winning their first three Game 4’s in the World Series, the Cubs dropped their last six games, including the only three they’ve played at Wrigley Field in 1932, 1935 and 1945.

The Cubs did beat the White Sox for the last time in the Crosstown World Series in 1906 in Game 4 and also moved one game closer to winning a championship with wins in 1907 & 1908.

But there have been some dubious moments, too. That includes the worst postseason collapse in franchise history at Shibe Park in Philadelphia in 1929 when the Cubs saw an 8-0 lead disappear when the Athletics scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to win. They went onto win the titles two days later in Game 5 as the Cubs blew a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 loss.

Here are the results of all the Cubs’ Game 4’s in the World Series.

1945 – vs Tigers – Loss – 4-1

1938 – at Yankees  – Loss – 8-3 (Eliminated from World Series)

1935 – vs Tigers – Loss – 2-1

1932 – vs Yankees – Loss – 13-6 (Eliminated from World Series)

1929 – at Phil. Athletics – Loss – 10-8

1918 – at Red Sox – Loss – 3-2

1910 – vs Phil. Athletics – Win – 4-3

1908 – at Tigers – Win – 3-1

1907 – at Tigers – Win – 6-1

1906 – vs White Sox – Win – 1-0