Written by: Ben Brown – Staff Writing Intern (@TheBigShalom)
The 2016 edition of the World Series starts Tuesday. It is weird that the two best teams in their respected leagues were the most unlikely teams to make the finals. The Cleveland Indians led the AL central with a record of 94-67. At one point in the season they won 14 straight to push them ahead in the AL Central. The Indians haven’t advanced to the World Series since 1997. By now, pretty much every baseball fan knows the Cubs storyline. They brought in Theo Epstein (curse killer) five years ago and after half a decade of rebuilding, the Cubs look to be the overwhelming favorite. The Cubs are trying to do something the literally no living person on earth has ever seen.
Both teams have some pretty crazy Storylines. Cleveland will be celebrating its NBA championship the same night as game one. Before that, the city hadn’t seen a championship in a professional sport since 1964. This could be the year of the Land. The Cavs changed the City’s image and perhaps inspired the other sports to think they could actually win. Besides the Browns, nothing can help the Browns. The Indians are also riddled with injuries. Currently Carols Carrasco (3.32 era in 2016) and outfielder Michael Brantley will not be participating in the World Series. Danny Salazar has been taken of the disabled list and could be available the pitch. The Indians bullpen has been so dominant that he would only be required to pitch 5 or so innings and let Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw take care of the rest.
What do you need to know about the Cubs? The biggest question currently is who will be DHing? The popular rumor is that Kyle Schwarber (recently cleared to participate in fall ball in Arizona) can come back from an ACL and LCL injury that he suffered in the first month of the season. The Cubs were 13-5 against the AL this season and didn’t have a true DH. To get to through the Indians rotation and seemingly untouchable bullpen, the Cubs bats obviously need to stay hot and the DH spot could be the key. The Cubs rotation has been pretty solid. Who would have thought the defending Cy Young award winner, Jake Arrieta would be the weakest pitcher in the post season. Lester and Hendricks both were lights out in the NLCS and Lackey is proving his worth in the post season. Joe Maddon wanted to utilize Chapman against the predominately lefty Dodgers. Rondon, Strop and Edwards could see more of a role against Cleveland. Finally, the Billy Goat Curse. Time and time again the people of Chicago have thought it was going to happen. They overcame a big step by winning the pennant. Has the curse finally runs it course or will strike again in the World Series?
Two very likable teams enter the World Series. One will leave champions for the first time in a long time and another will leave continuing the drought of a World Series victory. The Cubs ended the Giants even year magic and the Indians shut down the hard hitting Blue Jays. Both teams are capable of great hitting and great pitching which is why this series is so intriguing. Game 1 is Tuesday night at 8pm eastern. You definitely aren’t going to want to miss a pitch of this series.