The World Series is finally here and we the two teams with the longest title droughts in baseball paired in the same World Series, pretty crazy right? I was way off in the Championship Series picking the Jays and Dodgers, but Sean was spot on. The best team never seems to win, but the Cubs are changing that theory, while the WIN-dians keep winning with random hero starting pitching. In all honesty it hasn’t been the most dramatic playoffs or even most exciting one, but I’m fully expecting this World Series to turn in up a notch. Both teams’ fans will be rabid when they get home games, and the electricity in those games should be top notch. I didn’t think I would be too excited for the World Series, because the Mets couldn’t get back, but boy these titles thirsty franchises competing for their 1st title in so many years have me a little giddy.
The Indians will have home field advantage throughout which is always big in my opinion. The Land will be just as crazy as Chicago, so both team must take advantage when their home. Here is how the match-ups look for now;
Game 1-Tuesday, Oct. 25-Chicago (Jon Lester) at Cleveland (Corey Kluber)
Game 2-Wednesday, Oct. 26-Chicago (Jake Arrieta) at Cleveland (Trevor Bauer)
Game 3-Friday, Oct. 28-Cleveland (Josh Tomlin) at Chicago (Kyle Hendricks)
Game 4-Saturday, Oct.29-Cleveland (Kluber? Danny Salazar? Ryan Merritt?) at Chicago (John Lackey)
Game 5 (if necessary)-Sunday Oct. 30-Cleveland (Kluber?) at Chicago (Lester)
Game 6 (if necessary)-Tuesday Nov. 1-Chicago (Arrieta?) at Cleveland (Bauer?)
Game 7 (if necessary)-Wednesday, Nov. 2-Chicago at Cleveland
Obviously this could look a lot different as the series goes on. As of right now I would think the Cubs have the advantage in the starting pitching. On paper it looks like a lopsided advantage, but the Indians have only lost 1 game in the postseason with this rotation. The Tribe also might have a boost to that rotation in Danny Salazar coming back from his forearm injury. Now, we don’t know if he will be in the rotation or in the bullpen (more likely), but he will have some type of impact. Also, the bloody pinky of Bauer could take play again. If that thing isn’t fully healed it will put the Indians in bad shape, because in the ALCS he couldn’t even make it out of the 1st inning, before the literal bloodbath happened on the mound. The marquee matchup of all these games is the Lester vs. Kluber games. Lester has a 0.86 ERA in three starts-21 innings, and Kluber has a 0.98 ERA over three starts this postseason. When these guys go you better get to them early or this will be a 1-0 win for somebody. With Kluber going Game 1 it also sets him up for a possible Game 1, 4, and 7 starts, which would be very very interesting. I have been burned by this the whole postseason doubting the Indians rotation, but can you blame me? Which side would you rather have?
Cubs- Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks, Lackey
Indians- Kluber, Bauer, Tomlin, Merritt (Didn’t know who is was in the ALCS) or possibly Salazar
If Salazar is himself that makes a huge difference, but can he really come in and start right away after a forearm injury? There are still so many question marks for the Indians rotation even with them pitching so well to get to that great bullpen.
The lineups are both very fun to watch. On one hand you have the powerful Cubbies with Bryant, Rizzo, Russel, Baez, Contreras and Zobrist. The rumor is you can add one more name to that list in Kyle Schwarber. Like Salazar, I don’t know how effective he can be since he missed pretty much the whole year with a knee injury. There is no doubting Schwarbes power, and that is always scary, because one swing of the bat can change the game or even series. The Indians have their core of Santana, Lindor, Kipnis, Napoli, and Ramirez. Also apparently Coco Crisp found the foundation of youth and is playing really well. Both teams haven’t crushed the ball besides a few guys like Lindor, Bryant, and Baez. I do think these are very even lineups from top to bottom, but the x-factor here and for me in this series is Javier Baez. He is playing out of his mind right now, and he is the spark plug for the Cubs. He has to be one of the more exciting players in the whole postseason right now. He is getting on-base, hitting for power, stealing bases, and playing some defense. If he can continue this then the Cubs are in a nice spot, because the rest of them will come. Bryant is the MVP of the NL and is showing why this postseason. Like Baez, Bryant is doing it all as well, but we kind of expected it. With Baez I don’t think many saw him blowing up like this. The Indians have that spark plug in Lindor, but he needs some help. The Indians do seem to always get the big hit when it matters and that’s why they have only lost 1 postseason game. Will the clutch hitting continue or will the Cubbies power prevail?
Advantage: Cubs slightly
The bullpens are not very close in my opinion. Yes, the Cubs have Chapman, but what Andrew Miller is doing is not from this world. He comes in every time to pitch multiple innings and seems to strike every one out. The Tribe also have Bryan Shaw and their closer Cody Allen, who also strikes out everyone. The last game in the ALCS was the most impressive from Allen when he made the reigning MVP Josh Donaldson just look foolish. He has great stuff, and he will need more of it if the Tribe want to end their drought. A dominate bullpen has been the Royals blueprint the last few years and that got them a title, will it lead the Tribe to one?
Last year, the Mets were the better team but the Royals won. If you have any argument with that, you can get a fucking horse. The Mets were winning every one of those game last year, but with Mets bad defense and late clutch Royals hitting won them the World Series. It has a similar feel to this series coming up. This series is extremely hard to pick because I have been rooting for the Indians, yes even though I have picked against them every series. The Cubs have been the best team in baseball all year, and should be able to finish it. The x-factors for both teams are;
Like I said earlier if Baez keeps playing like he is, then the Cubs have a great shot at ending their drought. If the Indians SP can keep up what they’re doing, and get a lead to that bullpen, then the Indians have a great shot at ending their drought. I guess there is only one way I can pick a winner;
Jake Taylor: [Jake stands up] Well then I guess there’s only one thing left to do.
Roger Dorn: What’s that?
Jake Taylor: Win the whole fucking thing.
Scene! Tribe in 7!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : George