5 Reasons Why The Cubs/Indians Will Win The World Series
The 2016 Major League Baseball World Series, which gets underway on Tuesday evening in Cleveland, Ohio, will feature the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.
This is certainly a special World Series, as the Cubs haven't been in the Fall Classic since 1945, and haven't won it in 108 years, while the Indians haven't won a title since 1948.
So, what team will win end a long drought of misery?
Below are five reasons why the Cubs will win, followed by five reasons why the Indians will win:
5 Reasons Why The Cubs Will Win:
1)---Great starting pitching: Kyle Kendricks (2.13) and Jon Lester (2.44) finished 1-2 in ERA. in the National League in 2016, while Jake Arrieta (3.10) finished 10th. And if that's not impressive enough, John Lackey, who has a lot of playoff experience, ranked 12th (3.35). Lester, Arrieta, and Kendricks also ranked in the top five in the NL in wins, with 19, 18, and 16, respectively, while Jason Hammel, the 5th starter, finished tied for 10th with 15 victories. The Indians certainly have a formidable rotation themselves, but Trevor Bauer is a question mark, even though he is the expected to be the game two starter, and Danny Salazar hasn't pitched since September 9.
2)---Back of the bullpen: And if hitting Chicago's starting isn't hard enough, you then have to deal with the back of the bullpen, which features set-up men Joe Nathan and Mike Montgomery, and closer Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs are 54-1 when leading after 7 innings, and 56-1 when leading after 8 innings.
3)---Powerful Lineup: Kris Bryant (1st), Anthony Rizzo (5th), Addison Russell (17th), Dexter Fowler (19th), Ben Zobrist (25th), and Javier Baez (30th) all rank in the top 30 in offensive WAR in the NL. Bryant and Rizzo, hitting in the middle of the order, combined for 71 homers and 211 runs batted in. The Indians just dn't have that kind of offensive attack.
4)---Depth and Versatility: The Cubs can platoon Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler, and have the luxury of playing Zobrist in left or at second base. They probably won't, but Joe Maddon could play Javier Baez at shortstop, if he so desired. Chicago also has three legitimate catchers on their playoff roster. Bottom line is that they are the deeper, more versatile squad.
5)---World Series Experience: Yes, the Cubs are young, but they have World Series experience. Lester won two rings with the Boston Red Sox, while Lackey and David Ross each won one. Zobrist won the World Series last season with the Kansas City Royals, while Maddon managed Tampa Bay in the 2008 World Series, while Hammel was a part of that team.
5 Reasons Why The Indians Will Win The World Series:
1)---Andrew Miller: Yep, it's Miller Time! Actually, just about any time is Miller Time. Terry Francona has used him as a set-up man, as a closer, and for multiple innings. You don't know when you're going to see Miller, but you do know he's going to be nasty. Miller has posted a 1.69 ERA. since being traded by the Yankees to the Indians in July, and he's throwing the ball about as well as you possibly can right now.
2)---Speed: The Indians led the AL in stolen bases this year. Rajai Davis (43 steals), Jose Ramirez (22 steals), Francisco Lindor (19 steals), and Jason Kipnis (15 steals) can all swipe a bag, and that's important, because the Chicago pitchers have been susceptible to the stolen base. Lester allowed 28 steals, which was the third-most in NL, and Arrieta allowed 23, the fourth-most, while Lackey and Hammel each allowed 12, which tied for twelve-most.
3)---Mike Napoli: Is this guy the best free agent signing in Indians history? Yeah, he only hit a .239, but he provided some much needed power, hitting 34 homers, to go along with 101 RBI's.
4)---Offense Against Lefties: Other than Lester, the Chicago starting rotation is predominantly right-handed. That's good news for Cleveland hitters, who fare much better against righties than they do southpaws. Carlos Santana hit 30 of his 34 home runs against right-handers this year, while Napoli hit 27 of his 34 long balls against righties. Santana and Lindor, who are both switch-hitters, are much better from the left side of the plate.
5)---Just A Special Year: Don't overlook this one, as the Indians have overcome a lot this year. Remember, they lost their best play, Michael Brantley, to injury, after getting only 39 at-bats from him in April. They also lost their starting catcher, Yan Gomes, to an injury in mid-July, and a starting outfielder, Marlon Byrd, to a PED suspension in the first half of the season. All that, plus losing Salazar to an injury in early September, and then the freak injury to Bauer. All that, but yet they just kept winning. They've overcome the odds all year, so it would be foolish to think they can't do it again.