Chris Coghlan embraced the challenge of a Game Seven. To the Cubs outfielder, a winner-takes-all affair against a formidable opponent is the ultimate for any athlete.

“You want it as tall as you can stack it,” Coghlan said after Game Six. “You look back at the road, and the adversity faced. You have to stay in the moment, but as a player, you don’t want anything else. Bring it.”

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Were many of the players nervous? That’s hard to know, although I did observe a few different demeanors prior to the game. I saw some smiles, particularly from Francisco Lindor. There were some businesslike expressions and less-casual-than-usual postures. One Indians player struck me as being a little on edge when I encountered him in the dugout prior to batting practice.

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One big story leading into the game concerned the prospect of Corey Kluber facing the same team for the third time in nine days. That meant a lot of familiarity — on both sides — and myriad questions about adjustments. In terms of pitch mix, the Cubs saw a different Kluber in Game Four than they did in Game One.

I asked Chris Coghlan what his team might expect to see in Game Seven, and how they’d go about preparing for it.

“You’re always in a reactive position, as a hitter,” responded Coghlan. “You’re never going to dictate the at-bat. You have to take what he gives you. What you dictate — the power you have — is what you want to offer at.

“We’ve seen him twice, and we’ve seen two different ways of pitching. He’s also got more than two ways to get people out. He’s got four plus pitches, so it’s about trusting the pitches you’ve seen. How they break, how they move, what counts he likes to throw them in, and what pitch you feel you can do something with.”

The Cubs did something positive with several of the right-hander’s pitches in Game Seven, starting with Dexter Fowler’s leadoff home run. Coghlan didn’t predict that they would, but he saw reason they might.

“I didn’t think he had the same dominant stuff last time, even though he still won the game,” opined Coghlan. “The thing is, he was on short rest. In Game One, he dominated. In Game Four, he beat us.

“Game One, he was front-hip-shooting lefties the whole time. He dominated with his heater. In Game Four, he tried to get in there and our lefties hit a lot better off of him. We adjusted and scored some runs off of him. It wasn’t enough, but hopefully in Game Seven we score more than we did in the first two.”

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Kluber faced 18 batters in Game Seven and retired just 11 of them. For the first time in 146 big-league appearances, he didn’t record a strikeout.

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Prior to tonight’s leadoff home runs, Dexter Fowler was 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts against Kluber. I asked him what the difference was this time.

“Kluber is a good pitcher,” answered Fowler. “He’s a great pitcher. Seeing him three times this Series definitely helped. I hadn’t really seen him too much before. I got to figure out some things. But I was mostly just looking for something in the box. It’s great to get a pitcher like that early.”

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Javier Baez said after Game Six that he had something in mind. He told me that if his plan goes right, and Kluber throws the ball over the plate, he was going to make him pay for his mistake.

From there, the young infielder — unprompted — made note of what had been World Series doldrums.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit in recent games,” admitted Baez, who was 4-for-25 going into last night. “I have to try to make my adjustments. I’m just trying to do it too hard. When you slow everything down, it’s better.”

Baez’s fifth-inning home run traveled 402 feet. The blast made him the second-youngest player to homer in a World Series Game Seven (Mickey Mantle, in 1952), and the second Puerto Rico-born player to homer in the World Series (Roberto Clemente, in 1971).

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When he homered in the sixth inning, David Ross became the oldest player to go deep in a Game Seven. The 39-year-old catcher is three days older than Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell when he homered in Game Seven in 1979.

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Kyle Hendricks was solid for the Cubs, allowing just one run before being lifted for Jon Lester with two outs in the fifth inning. The night before, John Lackey said it was unlikely the Dartmouth product would be soliciting any advice from him.

“He’s not going to ask me,” said the Lackey. “Trust me. Kyle doesn’t even talk, hardly. He’ll be just fine, man. He’s just got to do his thing. You don’t gotta be better. You don’t gotta be doing anything crazy. Just go do what he’s been doing all year, and he’ll be fine.”

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Jon Lester: “[Baez] had a big error early in the game, with a double play he tried to bare hand and make a quick turn. But Kyle came back and got the next guy out. It’s a game of give and take. As pitchers, we get a lot, and we expect a lot out of our defense. When they make unbelievable plays, we forget about those really quick when they make errors. It is what it. You have to move on.”

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Yesterday’s Game Six Notes included a snapshot of Chicago’s advance scouting and game-planning for the Series. Today we get a glimpse of how Cleveland prepared for the Cubs.

According general manager Chris Antonetti, the Indians had “six guys on the road for the NLCS.” The individuals, whom he chose not to name, were part of a collaborative effort.

“There were a lot of conversations between various members of the front office, our scouts, our coaching staff — different iterations of it,” Antonetti told me. “We had one larger group meeting.

“During the season, you only have a finite amount of time to focus on a team, because you have the next opponent coming up. In this case, we were able to devote more resources.”

The Cubs’ curveball conundrum was presumably parsed in careful detail when the group convened. The GM didn’t divulge much I broached the subject.

“Our sequencing and pitch usage is something we obviously spend a lot of time talking about,” answered Antonetti. ‘It isn’t a blanket approach. It’s trying to understand each of our pitchers strengths, trying to understand the hitters’ weaknesses, and trying to come up with a game plan for each of those individual matchups.”

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Terry Francona had a classic Francona-style response when asked about how the Cubs used Aroldis Chapman in Game Five.

“I don’t ever try to manage their team,” said the Cleveland skipper. “I can tell you that it was a big ask. We’ve done it here, too. But nobody’s ever just run to the bat rack when Chapman comes into the game. I can guarantee you that.”

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John Lackey wasn’t politically correct when asked if he was surprised to see Chapman on the mound with a 7-2 lead.

“Yes, very,” admitted Lackey after Game Six. “Hopefully he’s feeling good for tomorrow.”

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Joe Maddon: “If a decision doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just means it didn’t work in that moment. As long as it was thought out, that’s how I perceive the day.”

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Rajai Davis after Game Six: “We don’t have to focus on the whole big picture. Just do your job and everything else will fall in place.”

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He didn’t mean to be disrespectful — that’s not his nature — but Jon Lester said the following during a press conference earlier in the Series:

“I can’t think of their closer’s name off the top of my head.”

The pitcher in question, Cody Allen, finished the postseason with 24 strikeouts in 13.2 scoreless innings.

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Dexter Fowler: “The rain delay was a blessing. It was a blessing in disguise. We didn’t know why. We were kind of mad about it, but I think everybody took a deep breath and realized it was a 0-0 game.”

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Bryan Shaw: “It was definitely exciting. Honestly, I think there were probably more Cubs fans than we had our fans there. At least that’s what it seemed like with the crowd. But it was fun. Everybody dreams of playing in the World Series, pitching in Game Seven with the game on the line. Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end.”

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Willson Contreras: “When the first run came in, in the 10th, I started like crying. I was showing my emotion. It’s something I can’t explain.”

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Francisco Lindor was asked if there is more hurt in last night’s lost, or if there is more a sense of accomplishment for everything the team overcame to get this far.

“It’s a little bit of both,” said the Indians shortstop. “It bothers me, but at the same time, it’s like, ‘Wow. We were one run away from winning everything. We did it, but we didn’t finish it. We’d have loved to have finished it. But hey, it’s part of the game. God had a plan, and we can’t rewrite it. He had the Cubs winning it.”

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Kyle Schwarber was asked what was going through his mind at the end of the game.

“A lot of stress,” said Schwarber. “I was out of the game, knowing I couldn’t do anything. I was just like, ‘OK, we need three outs. Three outs. We’ve done it a million times. When that last out happened, there was no thought process. It was just time to go crazy.”

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An exact, comprehensive total for the entire World Series wasn’t available, but over 2,100 media credentials were issued for the games played at Wrigley Field. Media from 17 different countries and territories were present in Chicago.