The 2016 World Series is here and it features two teams with a lot of history and misfortune.
Cleveland hasn’t been in a World Series since 1997, but hasn’t won since 1948. The Cubs trump that by not having been in a World Series since 1945 and have not won since 1908! These are the two longest droughts in the league and one of them will finally come to an end.
When and Where
Game 1 Tue, Oct. 25 8 p.m. Progressive Field – (Lester vs Kluber)
Game 2 Wed., Oct. 26 8 p.m. Progressive Field – (Arrieta vs Bauer)
Game 3 Fri., Oct. 28 8 p.m. Wrigley Field – (Hendricks vs Tomlin)
Game 4 Sat., Oct. 29 8 p.m. Wrigley Field – (? vs Lackey)
Game 5* Sun., Oct. 30 8 p.m. Wrigley Field
Game 6* Tue., Nov. 1 8 p.m. Progressive Field
Game 7* Wed., Nov. 2 8 p.m. Progressive Field
Why the Cubs will win
Regular season record 103-58
SD Score +3.58
The Cubs had one of the most dominating seasons in recent history and are the overwhelming favorites to win this year’s World Series.
They are superior in almost every facet of the game given their lineup and deep pitching staff.
The Cubs are very well-rounded in both reaching base and in power. As a team, their starting eight has a .355 on-base percentage (Cleveland’s is .330) and the Cubs out-homered the Indians 199 to 185.
Chicago’s power is similar to the 1987 Detroit Tigers as they not only have two players with more than 30 home runs (Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo), but also have seven players with double-digit home runs.
The Cubs seemed to be in trouble against the Giants and Dodgers, but once their backs were against the wall, they went 3-0 and didn’t just win, they blew the brakes off their opponent.
The other factor that has now become common knowledge is that Kyle Schwarber is back and will at least be the DH for the games in Cleveland, giving the Cubs another good bat in the lineup.
The starting rotation of the Cubs is the best in the business. They will start Jon Lester (19-5 2.44 ERA and a 0.86 postseason ERA) who won the most games in the regular season. When you add in Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA), last year’s Cy Young winner, John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA), Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA), and even Jason Hammel (15-10, 3.68 ERA), there are five pitchers who can be moved into middle relief and even late in games on top the their normal relievers.
Mike Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, and Travis Wood have been real good and they still have Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, who haven’t been as good as they were in the regular season.
The bottom line, the Cubs are stacked in every position and it’s reasonable to believe they will win this series.
Why the Indians will win
Regular season record 94-67
SD Score +1.51
Cleveland has defied the odds, beating the superior Red Sox and the seemingly superior Blue Jays rather easily. The Cubs should not take this team lightly.
Manager Terry Francona has done a masterful job with what appears to be a hobbled pitching staff as he pulls his pitchers quickly for fresh bodies and it has worked.
Danny Salazar could be back for either a start or middle relief, which would be a nice boost.
The other factor is that the Indians have a superior bullpen. Cody Allen (32 saves), Andrew Miller, and Ryan Merritt have been lights out. Allen has seven and two-thirds scoreless innings in the postseason and Miller has another eleven and two-thirds to give the Indians a very dependable and dominant bullpen.
The Indians, like Chicago, have power with Mike Napoli (34 HR, 101 RBI), Carlos Santana (34 HR, 87 RBI), and Jason Kipnis (23 HR, 82 RBI), but they have a lot of speed on the bases.
Rajai Davis (43 SB), Jose Ramirez (22), Francisco Lindor (19), and Jason Kipnis (15) offer great speed on the bases. The Indians had 134 stolen bases to Chicago’s 66, which is roughly a two-to-one ratio.
If the Indians get on base, they will have a lot of chances to get those runs in, which, in Cleveland for the first two games, could be a big factor in tilting this series in their favor.
The Bottom Line
While it’s not crazy to think the Indians can win this series, the smart money is on the dominant team getting this done. The Cubs should be able to out-pitch and out-hit the Indians and if they can at least split the first two games, they should be able to wrap this up.
Prediction: Chicago in six