Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Well, it finally happened.
The Chicago Cubs are IN the World Series for the first time in 71 years and will face the American League champion Cleveland Indians in the first game of Major League Baseball's 2016 World Series in Cleveland.
The Cubs finished with the best record (103-58) in MLB this season while the Indians won the AL Central division and then swept the Boston Red Sox in the divisional round before knocking off the Toronto Blue Jays four games to one in the AL Championship Series.
The Cubs disposed of the San Francisco Giants in four games in the divisional round and then nbeat the stubborn Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two in the NL Championship Series to reach the World Series.
Neither team has reached the promised land of a World Series title in many decades.
The Indians last won the Fall Classic back in 1948 while the Cubs haven't done so in 108 years, last winning the World Series in 1908.
Something has to give this time around.
Cleveland has been in two World Series in recent memory, losing in 1995 to the Atlanta Braves and again two years later (in 1997) to the Florida Marlins in a memorable seven-game series.
The Cubs are favored to win the title this season but the Indians, led by a good pitching staff that has weathered the storm of two top starting pitchers being injured, will be tough to beat.
In fact, Cleveland may have one of those  pitchers (Danny Salazar) back in the fold as the series gets going. Corey Kluber is slated to start Game One tonight against Cubs' ace Jon Lester, who twice was on the mound for the Cubs in wins against the Dodgers in the NLCS.
The Cubs bats finally woke up after being shut out by Dodgers pitching in two straight games and outscored their foes by a 23-6 count over the next three games.
Meanwhile, Cleveland has been riding the mastery of Manager Terry Francona to juggle the pitching staff to perfection in their 7-1 post-season run up to this point. The bullpen has been lights out as set up men Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw, along with closer Cody Allen, have dominated in the playoffs.
The Indians lineup is led by  shortstop Francisco Lindor, along with first baseman Mike Napoli and the likes of Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Rajai Davis and even Coco Crisp, who belted a big home run in the ALCS against Toronto.
Meanwhile the Cubs, led by Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, have been on fire the last three games. Add in Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler and catcher Willson Contreras and you have a formidable batting order. Plus, the Cubs will have slugger Kyle Schwarber back in the mix as the designated hitter in Cleveland.
Schwarber has been out with a knee injury all season when he went down way back in the third game of the season in early April. Cubs Manager Joe Maddon isn't afraid to tinker and he is willing to roll the dice that Schwarber will contribute in the World Series for the team.

OUTLOOK:  This should be an exciting series with both teams riding hot bats and stellar pitching, in particular the Cleveland bullpen of late has been outstanding and could be the X factor in this Fall Classic.
The Cubs have excellent starting pitching and a dominant closer to go with air tight defense and a potent lineup, so they will be tough to beat.

PREDICTION -    Chicago Cubs win the World Series in SIX GAMES.

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