2016 World Series Preview



Even before the first pitch is thrown, the 2016 World Series has already made history by featuring two teams looking to end long-enduring droughts.


On the American League side, you have the Cleveland Indians. Prior to capturing the NBA title this June, the city hadn’t won a championship in any of the four major sports since 1964. Only four months removed from snapping their combined 147 season drought, the city of Cleveland is only four wins away from being crowned World Series champs for the first time in 68 years. The Indians won the AL Central with a 94-67 regular season record, and went on to sweep the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. They then faced the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, breezing to a 4-1 series win behind a dominant bullpen that was anchored by ALCS MVP Andrew Miller’s 14 strikeouts over 7 2⁄3 innings. The Indians have flown under the radar this postseason as underdogs in both matchups, but don’t expect them to roll over for the Cubs.

Out of the National League come the Chicago Cubs, a team that has failed time and again over the past 107 years. Dubbed the “Lovable Losers” and cursed by a goat, the Cubs have most of the country in their corner, rooting for an end to the longest title drought for any sport in modern history. This year’s team had the best regular season record in the MLB, and is led by a strong core of young stars, including the likely NL MVP, Kris Bryant. They had to get through two teams from the NL West first dispatching the San Francisco Giants before taking down the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. The Dodgers gave the potent Cubs’ bats fits, shutting them out in Games 2 and 3, but the Cubs easily took the next three and the NL Pennant

Who Will Win?

On paper, the Cubs look like the overwhelming favorite. Their starting rotation features some of the league’s best, in Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta. The Chicago bullpen has been a little shaky of late, but still boasts Aroldis Chapman and his 105 mph fastball. The real strength of this team comes from their offense, scoring 23 runs over the last three games of the NLCS. They possess the ability to completely change a game with their bats. First baseman Anthony Rizzo figures to be a game changer for them. He could not muster up a hit in the first three games against the Dodgers as the team fell in a 1-2 hole before his bat came to life, totaling seven hits, two home runs and five runs batted in over the last three games.

The Indians have made a strong run, however, and have a real chance to spoil the Cubs fairytale ending. The bullpen has been key to Cleveland’s playoff parade so far, and the Indians look to continue their dominance against Chicago’s elite group of sluggers. The Indians present an interesting matchup with Cubs with their starters. Corey Kluber is the only ace that they have while the Cubs have three. This will lead to manager Terry Francona pulling his other starters liberally if he feels they are in trouble. The last thing he wants is the Cubs bats to get into a rhythm. With their starters slightly banged up, and their offense leaving something to be desired, they have been able to produce just enough to get the job done.

Another factor that plays into the series are the managers in the dugouts. On the Indian’s side there is Terry Francona. After this run he is a surefire Hall of Famer who is 31st on the all-time wins list among managers and has won two championships with the Red Sox. The Cubs are lead by Joe Maddon. Known for his laid back style that connects with players, Maddon took the Tampa Bay Rays franchise out of misery to their first World Series appearance and has now taken a lowly Cubs franchise within four years of a championship.

Maxwell’s Projection: I think the Cubs have the collective weight of the entire nation on their shoulders, and that it might prove to be too much. While they boast more stars, Cleveland has shown itself to be a resilient team.

Willy’s Projection: Though the Indians will put up a fight like they have all season, the Cubs overall roster strength will reign supreme. Their starters will go deep into games and after early struggles, their big bats will expose the Indians weak starting rotation for a World Championship. Cubs in 7.

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