The Chicago Cubs for the first time since 1945 will be competing in the World Series. You need to go back much further back to find the last time they won the World Series, which came in 1908. The 2016 Cubs made the World Series by no mistake. This is team who have been stockpiling the talent over the past few years, and it’s all come to a head here in 2016. Before the start of last season, I predicted that the Cubs were going to have a really good season, but ultimately come up short of making the World Series. Just let them get their feet wet and they’ll make it all the way the next year. It wasn’t the boldest prediction, I must admit, but here the Cubs are in the World Series and everything has gone according to their plan.
It was only a matter of time before Kris Bryant became a household name, and now that the Cubs have a ticket to the World Series, Bryant is going to get the recognition he rightfully deserves. He led the team with a batting average of .292 and 39 HRs in the regular season. Bryant also led the Cubs in hits with 176 on the year. He was flanked by terrific talent as well. Another talented younger on their roster, Anthony Rizzo, accumulated 109 RBIs.
There is more young talent littered across this roster, too. Take for instance Addison Russell who hit 21 HRs, and Willson Contreras who has gotten a hit in each the last three games against the Dodgers, including a deep ball in Game 6. The oldest of that group is Kris Bryant at only 27-years-old. Needless to say the Cubs aren’t going anywhere. This is going to be a flash in the pan, the Cubs are going to be here as a competitive team for the long haul.
The Cubs will look to squash the dreams of a surprising opponent in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians. The Indians entered the regular season with expectations of a 3rd place finish in the American League Central, behind the Tigers and Royals. The Tribe took it a little further by winning the division and making it all the way to the World Series. They beat the Blue Jays at their own game in the ALCS and got the deep ball going in their favor. The Indians were able to overcome doubts from pundits, and more importantly, overcome critical injuries to their pitching staff along the way. This should be a good World Series against two stories franchises. Find our pick for Game 1 of the World Series below.
Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians
Jon Lester (21-5, 2.29 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (20-10, 2.97 ERA)
We have one heck of a pitching matchup to get the World Series started tonight. The Cubs signed Jon Lester last season with the prospect of him helping them win a World Series. Lester was upstaged by Jake Arrieta last season, but he’s reclaimed his spot as an ace. Arrieta exploded on the scene with an ERA of 1.77 in 2015. He’s regressed to a 3.10 ERA, which is still strong, but Lester posted an ERA of 2.44 in the regular season to bolster his ace resume. He’s been excellent in the postseason and brought his overall ERA down to 2.29.
Lester has yielded an ERA of 0.86, 0.76 WHIP, with two wins in the postseason. In 21 innings he’s only surrendered 2 runs in total. Arrieta will follow Lester for Game 2. Kluber has been spectacular in the postseason as well. In a start against the Red Sox, and two against the Blue Jays, Kluber has given up just 2 runs in 18.1 innings of work. There is going to be a razor thin margin for error in this series. A miscue here or there is going to be the deciding factor. The Indians have been sitting back since October 19th, while this would be great in a sport like hockey, in baseball a layoff may be enough to cause some rust in the first game back. I see the Cubs getting out ahead tonight and capturing Game 1 of the World Series, bringing them three games from their first championship since 1908.
PICK: CUBS TO WIN -110