American League Champions: Cleveland Indians
National League Champions: Chicago Cubs
1948 vs 1908. 68 years vs 108 years.
Two teams, who haven’t won the World Series for a combined 176 years, face off in the 2016 World Series, where they’ll both try to lift their respective curses: curse of the Billy Goat for Cubs and the curse of Chief Wahoo for Indians. In other words, both teams’ fans are desperately craving to see their team winning the World Series
Cleveland was considered the underdog throughout the entire postseason due to the injury of 2 starting pitchers in their 1-2-3 rotation: Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. However, they were able to overcome these unfavorable factors and reserved a spot in World Series first.
On the other hand, the Cubs barely defeated the San Francisco Giants and the LA Dodgers in the Division Series and Championship Series, although they were thought to be front-runners during the season.
Starting Rotation (&2016 Post Season Records)
1: Corey Kluber (2-1,ERA 0.98) vs. Jon Lester (2-0, 0.86)
2: Trevor Bauer (0-0, 5.06) vs. Jake Arrieta (0-1, 4.91)
3: Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.53) vs. Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 1.65)
4: Undecided vs. John Lackey (0-0, 5.63)
Although Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are not showing their best performance, they had a great regular season and if they recover their form, Indians will face difficulties scoring. However, the team ERA of starters’ of Indians is 1.86, and this performance will continue through out the World Series.
Core Bullpen Pitchers (Postseason statistics):
Indians: Andrew Miller (6G 1W 0L 1SV 0.00), Cody Allen (6G 5SV 0.00)
Cubs: Aroldis Chapman (8G 1W 0L 3SV 3.38), Mike Montgomery (1-1, 3.72)
Indians have constructed powerful bullpen: Closing pitcher Cody Allen, Set-up pitchers Andrew Miller and Dan Otero, and other pitchers like Zach McAllister and Bryan Shaw have recorded 1.67 ERA in 8 games. The Cubs also have decent bullpen pitchers aside from Chapman and Montgomery, but recently they’ve created anxiety about the future (ERA 3.53 in 10 games).
Throughout the postseason, the Cubs’ batters were able to recover their form and scored lots of runs. However, Indians won games by scoring moderate runs and not conceding much runs, but their team batting average was 0.208.
Key Player (Batter) & Postseason Statistics
Indians: Shortstop Francisco Lindor (BA 0.323, 2 HR, 4RBI)
Cubs: 1st Baseman Anthony Rizzo (0.225, 2HR, 5RBI)
Although Cubs seem to be better off in starting rotation and batting, short-term competitions like World Series, the factor that decides the winner of the game is the manager of the team. John Maddon, the manager of Chicago Cubs is a good manager, but he made bad decisions of switching pitchers in the Championship Series against LA Dodgers. On the other hand, Terrence Jonathan “Terry” Francona, who is the manager of Cleveland Indians and the former manager of Boston Red Sox who lifted the curse of the Bambino in 2004, displayed his game handling ability in 2016 postseasons. Whenever his starting pitchers were in critical situation, he did not hesitate to ‘quick hook’, or to change the SP before he finishes the 6th or 5th inning of the game. Also, I think that the Indians show great teamwork and team spirit that will surpass their weakness.
Prediction: Indians over Cubs in 6