Nov. 04, 2016
Two Losers with a Shot: The 2016 World Series
For the fan base of one of these two traditionally poor baseball teams, the long wait will be over. The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians are set to clash in one of sporting's finest events, the World Series. These two teams don't exactly have illustrious pasts. The Indians have failed to bring the Commissioner's Trophy back to Cleveland since the 1948 season. The Cubs somehow have gone much longer, as their last championship came in 1908. The good news is, one team will finally end the drought. The bad news, the wait continues for one tortured fan base.
The Indians were on cruise control throughout the American League playoffs, losing just one game throughout their two series. Cleveland began their run with a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, followed closely by a 4-1 series win against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Indians were undoubtedly led by their outstanding pitching. Corey Kluber has been lights out for the Indians. In 18 innings of work this post season, he has fanned 20 batters and allowed a stingy 2 runs, earning him a .98 ERA. While their starters have been good, their relief has been perfect. Something unheard of happened in the ALCS. A relief pitcher won the MVP. That may sound silly, until you hear what Andrew Miller did this post season. He has tallied 21 strikeouts in 11 innings of work. How many hits did he give up in that span? 5. His ERA is a flawless 0. That is scary good. Following Miller, Cody Davis has been doing his job as well. He has tallied 5 saves this post season, and is exactly as stingy to opposing batters as Miller is, allowing 5 hits and no earned runs. The Indians have been riding this deadly pitching trio, and it has worked flawlessly against teams with big bats like the Blue Jays and Red Son. That is what makes this match up so interesting, because Chicago will have the biggest bats yet.
The Cubs have had a slightly tougher time getting to the World Series than the Indians. After enduring challenges from the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, they punched their ticket to the big game. As the Indians were lead by their pitching, the Cubs have been led by their bats. The stacked lineup has been led by Javy Baez, who has batted .342 this post season with a home run and 7 RBI's. Kris Bryant has been playing like his usual self in the playoffs as well, abusing opposing pitchers for a .333 average, one home run, and 6 RBI's. In the time of need, Willson Contreras has also stepped up, with a .400 average and a home run in just 20 at bats this postseason. While their batting has been exemplary, their pitching is nothing to scoff at. The old man, Jon Lester, has been playing like a man reborn. He has yet to lose in the postseason, and has posted a .86 ERA. Kyle Hendricks has been solid as well, striking out 11 with a 1.65 ERA throughout the two series thus far. The Cuban Missile has been living up to his name and reputation. Chapman has been blowing the ball past batters, fanning 10 in only 8 innings pitched.
The question is, who wins the series? It's the question on everyone's mind leading up to the first game on Oct. 25th. The series will not be a sweep, and will not be easy. It will be a dogfight. The hot bats of Chicago can be cooled by the icy Cleveland pitchers. On the flip side, the thus far flawless pitching of the Indians can be spoiled by a home run party by the Cubs. When it boils down to it, the winner will be the more balanced team, which is the Cubs. The Indians have earned their place in the World Series, there is no denying that. Their pitching staff could go down in history, it is a scary good collection of athletes at the top of their game. But, they are lacking in the bats department. They will need a minimum of 5 runs a game to contest with the powerful Chicago offense. The Cubs have been waiting a very long time for this, and I believe the wait is almost over. The Cubs combination of run support and stingy pitching makes them a team destined to break a long losing streak. Whoever ends up on top, the series is sure to stir up emotions in any viewer. There will be laughter, there will be tears, and I am ecstatic to see how it all plays out.