World Series Preview

Based on how this MLB season has played out, the fact that the Cubs and Indians are facing each other in the World Series isn’t the most shocking thing.  But when it comes to MLB stereotypes and historical implications, this is probably the most unlikely World Series ever.

The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, and haven’t appeared in it since 1945.  There’s the Curse of the Billy Goat, and Steve Bartman, and the fact that no one currently living on Earth has seen the Cubs win the World Series.

The Indians main issue is the fact that they play in Cleveland, by far the worst sports city in America until June.  Its probably still top five, but think about this:  The Indians are four wins away from giving Cleveland it’s second championship in four months.  This is a city that hadn’t won a thing since 1964!  It really could be the Year of Cleveland.

But it could also be the year the Cubs actually do it.  Cubs fans are shifting their mindset from “It might happen.” to “Its actually happening.”

There’s a lot at stake here for both cities involved.  But what about the teams?

I’ve picked against the Indians all postseason.  The matchups versus Boston and Toronto just didn’t seem like good ones for this banged up Indians team.  But they’ve been resilient.  They’ve fought through injuries to their rotation, which is now starting to improve.  Cleveland getting this far has allowed Danny Salazar to return to the rotation.  Thats huge, and also means that Ryan Merritt or whoever he was doesn’t have to face this brutal Cubs lineup.

Corey Kluber pitched well for the most part in the ALCS, but even with his struggles, he’s someone who you can trust in a big game.  Josh Tomlin has been money this postseason, and man, that Game 2 performance was incredible.  I don’t know how Trevor Bauer’s finger is, but Salazar joining the rotation is a very nice backup plan incase he can’t pitch.  And by the way, Toronto really blew that game.

Ryan Merritt’s performance was great, but the benefit of having Andrew Miller saved the Indians in the clinching game.  He’s a huge X-Factor in this series for the Indians, because while the Indians rotation is good (Yes, I’ll admit it), they’re going to struggle against the Cubs lineup.  If Clayton Kershaw can, then anyone in the Indians’ rotation can.

The Cubs are stacked.  They have been all year.  And now, they’re getting a nice surprise as Kyle Schwarber is going the World Series roster as a DH.  Have fun with that, Cleveland.

The lineup struggled against Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw though.  Sure, Kershaw kinda melted down in Game 6.  But I don’t blame that totally on him.  The Dodgers as a team just don’t do positive things in the playoffs.  We’ve seen this take place since 2010.  Andrew Toles had one of those moments in Game 6, dropping an easy catch in left field.  So yeah, while Kershaw didn’t pitch well, but the Dodgers, whether it was their play or bad luck, didn’t help him out at all.

The guy Chicago really struggled with was Rich Hill.  He didn’t give up any runs in his Game 3 outing, and that curveball left the Cubs stumped.

However, I don’t think the Cubs will struggle this series.  Cleveland has Corey Kluber as the one guy who has great stuff.  The Dodgers had two guys with great stuff.  Thats a very traditional thing to say, but when you have a lineup this good, it doesn’t really matter.

Thats why Andrew Miller is so important in this series.  If the Indians rotation struggles, then Miller at least provides something to fall back on, even if you’re down.

The only problem would be getting back in it.

The Cubs have two aces in Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, and two guys who’d be No.2 and No.3 starters anywhere else.  The Indians need big, clutch hits in this series.  Francisco Lindor is probably the most likely candidate.  Mike Napoli could hit a big home run here or there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jose Ramirez did something clutch, because this is the Year of Him.  Lonnie Chisenhall is threat, but only if the bases are loaded.

So yeah, the Indians have the ability to score.  But against this pitching staff, it will be hard to score every single night.

This World Series is gonna be a beautiful victory for one and devastating loss for the other.  Both cities deserve this.  But the Cubs suffering has been going on much longer than Cleveland’s.  And the Cubs have been the best team we’ve seen in years.  And everyone has known since the beginning of the year that this Cubs team belonged here.  Its destiny.  And unfortunately for the Indians, it seems too improbable that Cleveland can have this good of a year.  Maybe LeBron needs to take a couple at-bats.

Prediction: Cubs in 5