by Michael Jarosz
On Saturday, October 22, the Chicago Cubs officially punched their ticket to the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 5-0 shutout. Starter Kyle Hendricks was masterful, going seven and a third shutout innings to outduel Clayton Kershaw before handing the ball off to closer Aroldis Chapman, who sealed the deal by getting the last five outs. The Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years, dating back to 1945. Now they’re off to Cleveland, ready to play Terry Francona and the Indians in a best of seven series to determine who the best team in baseball is.
So who wins? After defeating the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Division and Championship Series’ respectively, the Indians have plenty to be confident about. Their bullpen has been one of the best in the postseason with the dominant Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen. They initially had a weakness in terms of starters, having lost Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to injuries during the regular season, but the latter of the two could return as a reliever in the upcoming series. Among other noteworthy starters are Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin, but they have shown weakness in terms of going deep into games, as evident from their previous starts.
Chicago’s bullpen isn’t anything to snuff at either, but has shown a couple of problems throughout the playoffs, as the entire pitching staff holds a 2.93 ERA together. However, their strength has been their offense and their starting pitching; the former of which had been lost after game one of the Championship Series, but returned in game four and ended up being what helped to beat the Dodgers. Cleveland hadn’t scored more than six runs through the postseason thus far, whereas the Cubs did it three times during the Championship Series.
Both teams are looking to end severe droughts, with Cleveland having the longest in the American League of 68 years, while Chicago is sitting on an 108-year drought; the longest in the National League. This pivotal series begins on Tuesday, October 25 at Progressive Field at 8:00 PM. There are no curses or goats. Just two teams trying to end the suffering of their franchises.