It’s finally arrived. After 162 regular season games, twenty-eight regular season games, endless drama, excitement, countless pitching changes, lead changes, pinch hitters, pinch runners, and of course, some great baseball, the World Series is here, and it’s gonna be a good one!
The two longest championship droughts in baseball belong to the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, so regardless of how this series turns out one of those droughts will finally be broken. Perennial underdogs Cleveland arrives on the back of their superb pitching, particularly in the bullpen, and the perfect touch of manager Terry Francona in dispatching those pitchers, and they cruised through the Red Sox and Blue Jays, going 8-1.
The Cubs arrive after slipping past the Giants in a series that was closer than you would think, and after getting a scare from the Dodgers after falling behind 2-1 while getting shut out in two straight games, the Cubs of the regular season finally arrived in the postseason; the Cubs outscored the Dodgers twenty-three to six while winning the next three games and the series.
After struggling for most of the postseason, the Cubs offense finally woke up and joined a pitching staff that had been pitching great. The Cubs are so good and so loaded that they have no real weakness, and if Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell have broken out of their slumps for good then even this Indians staff will have a very tough time containing them.
If any manager and staff could contain these Cubs at full speed, though, it’s Francona and the Indians. Led by unhittable relief ace Andrew Miller backed up by equally unhittable closer Cody Allen, the Indians can mix and match however they need to, and any high leverage situation will always be in their favor.
If starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin continue their dominant postseasons so far and Ryan Merritt builds off his solid first start, and Trevor Bauer bounces back, and even Danny Salazar may be back to pitch in some capacity… Well, let’s just say the Indians have the pitching to match up against the Cubs.
The Cubs have made it this far without having played as well as they could, or should, until the final three games of the Dodgers series. If that same Cubs team shows up, the Cubs should be able to take this series.
This series hinges on if the Indians staff can continue to show up the way they have so far, or if the Cubs really can play like the best team in baseball for four to seven more games. The Indians are following the formula that has delivered championships to many teams; clutch hitting and pitching, pitching, pitching, and after picking against them all postseason long, they’ve finally won me over. This is going to be a very, very close and evenly matched series, however. Prediction, Indians win an eighteen inning, seven hour long game seven 1-0.