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2016 World Series: Something’s gotta give between Cubs, Indians

The stage is set for the 112th World Series. In the visiting corner, we have the Chicago Cubs representing the National League. And the owners of home field throughout the Fall Classic will be the Cleveland Indians, the American League pennant winners.

chicago-cubsIf you are unaware of the curse flying over the Cubs and their fans, then that is some noise- and sound-proof rock you’ve been living under in 2016! The mighty Cubbies were by far the best team in all of baseball from start to finish. The long-term project devised by president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is finally coming to fruition. The roster is just loaded with young superstars in their early to mid-20s, supplemented with reliable and above-average veterans.

They refused to let that happen again this year. Up until the final three games of this year’s NLCS with the Dodgers, the Cubs struggled mightily to produce any offense. The young, hard-hitting Cubs played the role of Kardiac Kids this postseason, scoring a lot in the later innings. They ambushed the Giants in the Divisional Series round late, and the offense finally broke through in a big way and completely dominated Los Angeles to punch their ticket to their first World Series in 71 years.

Back in the Fall Classic, Chicago has a shot to end the most well-known title drought in sports.

Cleveland IndiansThe Indians overcame improbable odds from start to finish this year. A lot of the ‘experts’ had them finishing at least 3rd or 4th in the AL Central Division behind the then defending champion Royals and our Tigers, perhaps competing for a Wild Card spot at best given how talented their pitching staff was. Coupled that with some signings that seemed a bit head-scratching and not-so-convincing in the off-season, Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis in particular, and the health struggles of quiet superstar Michael Brantley, the Tribe had no chance….. right?

Wrong. They put all the naysayers to bed in 2016. Both Napoli and Davis proved to be exceptional low-risk, high-reward one-year deals, and the pitching staff was the best in the American League led by AL Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber. However, that pitching staff has been decimated with injuries but the ‘other guys’ have stepped up in the rotation and the bullpen has been absolutely dominant. Trade deadline acquisition Andrew Miller has been the team’s MVP in the playoffs and will be heavily relied upon in this final series of 2016 against the Cubs.

This match-up is unique for a number of reasons. The championship drought for the Cubs is well-documented, but the Indians are in uncharted waters as well. This is their first AL crown since 1997 and they will be looking to bring home a baseball trophy to Cleveland for the first time since 1948. Something has gotta give over the next nine days. The two managers representing each Fall Classic contender are arguably the two best in the business and heavy candidates for Managers of the Year in their respective leagues. Both Joe Maddon of the Cubs and Terry Francona of the Indians are considered two of the best player’s managers and know how to get the most out of their squad. In the case of Francona, he has a chance to become the fifth manager in Major League Baseball history to win a championship with two different franchises, the first since Tony La Russa in 2006.

Expect a lot of low-scoring affairs all series long. For the Cubs, they hope they can continue the momentum from downing the Dodgers and ride the hot bats of slick-fielding second baseman Javier Baéz and potential NL MVP Kris Bryant. As for the Indians, they are certainly confident in their pitching staff (albeit unknown at the moment), top to bottom. It’ll fall on their hitting though and trying to get by a deep rotation led by postseason bulldog Jon Lester. The bats were super quiet in the ALCS against the Blue Jays, that cannot happen for a second consecutive round.

The 2016 World Series gets underway Tuesday night in Cleveland. All games start at 8 p.m. ET and can be seen on FOX. Here is the schedule for the Fall Classic (*if necessary):

  • Game 1, Cubs at Indians – Tuesday, October 25
    • J. Lester (CHC) vs. C. Kluber (CLE)
  • Game 2, Cubs at Indians – Wednesday, October 26
    • J. Arrieta (CHC) vs. TBA
  • Game 3, Indians at Cubs – Friday, October 28
    • TBA vs. K. Hendricks (CHC)
  • Game 4, Indians at Cubs – Saturday, October 29
    • TBA vs. J. Lackey (CHC)
  • Game 5, Indians at Cubs – Sunday, October 30*
    • TBA vs. TBA
  • Game 6, Cubs at Indians – Tuesday, November 1*
    • TBA vs. TBA
  • Game 7, Cubs at Indians – Wednesday, November 2*
    • TBA vs. TBA

DSN WORLD SERIES PREDICTIONS

ALEX MULLER Cubs in 5
RYAN GRIFFIN Cubs in 6
PAUL ROCHON Indians in 7
CHRIS WOY Cubs in 5
JEFF DEACON Cubs in 5
DANIEL DYLAN BAIR Cubs in 5
DON DRYSDALE Indians in 7

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