Tuesday, October 25, 2016

World Series Preview and Why The Cubs Shouldn't Overlook the Indians

            Yes, the Chicago Cubs have exorcised the Curse of the Billy Goat. They banished their demons by defeating the Los Angeles Dodger 4-2 in the NLCS. Now all that stands in their way of ending an 108-year drought is the Cleveland Indians. What? You thought that they had won it all already? Nope, the Cubs need four more games to win the World Series. But here's a few reasons why the Cubs shouldn't overlook the Indians in this epic World Series matchup.

  1. Andrew Miller and the Bullpen: Miller has been far and away the best reliever in the postseason so far. He's posting a K.9 of 16.20 along with a WHIP of 0.60. He also hasn't allowed a run yet this postseason and has only walked two batters in the playoffs. Cody Allen hasn't allowed a run yet, either. He's posting a 1.04 WHIP, five saves and 14.09 K/9. The Cubs will need to get to Cleveland's starting pitching if they want to end their 108-year drought. 
  2. Corey Kluber: Again, the Cubs will need to get to the starting pitching early if they stand a chance at winning the World Series. They have to do it against Corey Kluber, who could pitch in games 1, 4, and 7 if needed. Kluber has a 0.98 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP pitching against two potent lineups in Toronto and Boston. Getting to Kluber in at least one of these games will help the Cubs immensely.
  3. Baserunning: The Indians placed fourth in the majors in the regular season in stolen bases with 134. Considering that Jon Lester has a funky throw to first base, Cleveland could capitalize on this and make the Cubs' life a living hell. With speedsters like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Rajai Davis, Cleveland won't be the stop-and-go station type of team that Chicago comparably seems to be.
  4. Terry Francona: Theo Epstein and the Cubs face Theo's old protege in Terry Francona, the manager who won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 with the Red Sox. Ever since Tito became Cleveland's manager in 2013, the Indians have gone 352-294 under his coaching (a winning percentage of .545). Francona has done an immaculate job managing the bullpen this postseason, utilizing Miller, Allen and other bullpen arms in key situations.
  5. Home-Field Advantage: As mentioned before in the "Other Curse" blog, the Cleveland Indians tied for the best home record in the American League. The Cubs have a road record of 46-34-1. Impressive, but it's a road record. Nevertheless, the Indians will want to end their titleless streak dating back to 1948 as much as the Cubs will want to end theirs. How cool would it be to see two curses lifted in the same season? 
            Are the Cubs better on paper than the Indians? By far. But this should be an interesting series with a lot of history for both clubs. Both teams seem engaged considering how interactive the two teams are on Twitter. The ratings should be huge considering that one of these title droughts will end.

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