World Series Preview

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WSPN’s previews the 2016 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.

Charlie Moore

Cubs (NL #1) vs. Indians (AL #2) – Prediction: Cubs in 6
Best of 7
Oct 25 – Nov 2 (if necessary)

Game 1: Cleveland wins in Cleveland
Game 2: Cleveland wins in Cleveland
Game 3: Chicago wins in Chicago
Game 4: Chicago wins in Chicago
Game 5: Chicago wins in Chicago
Game 6: Chicago wins in Cleveland

Two teams remain standing in the 2016 MLB playoffs: the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, who will face off in a 7-game World Series. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series title since 1908, and many fans believe that plain bad luck isn’t the only thing keeping the team from winning. In 1945, the last year the Cubs appeared in the Series, Chicago bar owner Billy Sianis brought his pet billy goat to the fourth game of the World Series and was asked to leave Wrigley Field because of the goat’s “terrible odor.” As Sianis left the ballpark, he exclaimed, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” Since then, the Cubs have not even made it to the World Series, much less won it. Many superstitious fans, associating Sianis’ parting shot with the team’s World Series drought, call this the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” The Indians haven’t exactly been the most successful team when it comes to World Series victories either, with their last title coming in 1948. They’ve since made many appearances in the playoffs, most recently in 2007, but Cleveland has gone without a World Series parade for 68 years.

This year, the Cubs have had a fantastic season, winning 103 games for the best record in baseball. They’ve got an unrelenting rotation with former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta at the front, followed by John Lester and John Lackey, who have both pitched for World Series-winning teams. The Cubs’ #4 pitcher, Kyle Hendricks is Cy Young candidate as well, with a season 2.13 ERA. Then comes the Cubs’ explosive young lineup, with the powerful duo of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo (39 Home Runs, 100+ RBIs each in 2016), league OBP leader Dexter Fowler, and offseason additions Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, the Cubs lineup is a terror to any opposing pitcher. With former Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, outfield slugger Jorge Soler and NL shortstop all star Addison Russell, the team’s definitely got youth. Finally; the Cubs’ bullpen is stellar. Last year’s World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals, didn’t have an ace, or much power, but they had the best bullpen in baseballand would pitch through the fifth and turn it over to the their amazing bullpen. The Cubs have veteran set-up men in Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, but their best bullpen factor is that they’ve got baseball’s fastest pitcher Aroldis Chapman as their closer. Look for him to be a key factor in this series.

The Indians have had a surprisingly respectable season this year. They went 94-67, clinched the AL Central and entered the playoffs as the #2 seed in the American League. The Indians are going into this series very hot, having lost only one game in their ALDS against the Boston Red Sox and ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays. Not one of their players has been a disappointment in these playoffs, their pitching has been impenetrable and they’ve hit so many long balls that opposing pitchers might as well just chuck the ball over the plate and watch it fly. Without their two time all stars Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes, the Indians looked ready to be basement-dwellers in the AL Central this season, but shortstop and MVP candidate Francisco Lindor has had an amazing season and the Indians made good deals at the trade deadline. Their two most important acquisitions, lefty reliever Andrew Miller and outfielder Coco Crisp, have produced very nice performances throughout the playoffs. The Indians also have a fiery rotation of Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and, despite a possible injury, Trevor Bauer. They’re missing two vital arms in Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who were injured during the season, but the team has completely taken injuries in stride. Cleveland looked as though they’d fall out of playoff contention quickly, but they exceeded expectations. ALCS MVP Miller pitched 7.2 innings of relief with 14 strikeouts along the way in the last game of that series, and Lindor, who came in second in 2015 AL Rookie of the Year voting, has slashed .323/.344/.581 over 32 playoff at-bats and 8 games.

The Indians have played an amazing season this year and have breezed through their opposition so far, but they’re not ready for the Cubs. The Cubs have been struggling against their opposition mightily compared to the Indians this October, but they simply have more weapons to go deep into the series. The Indians will go in hot and win game one, but they’ll slowly wear out and the Cubs will take the Series in six games.