Monday, October 24, 2016

On to the World Series

You already know that this World Series pits the two longest title droughts in baseball against each other. Cleveland last won baseball's championship in 1948, the Cubs in 1908.

It also -- and this doesn't happen often in this era of wild cards and multi-level playoffs -- pits the best teams from each league. (True, Cleveland didn't have the best record in the American League, but the Texas Rangers' record benefited from the unbalanced schedule and the soft AL West.)

The Cubs for a while this season looked like they could be an historic team. But they had a relatively soft June and wound up with "only" 103 wins, not the 110 or so that seemed possible in the first two months of the season.

And they are, pretty clearly, the better team of the two. Which doesn't mean they'll win. Weaker teams regularly win short series in baseball.

And there's an obvious path for the Tribe to take this series, the same path they took past the Red Sox and the Blue Jays in the first two rounds: Get the lead in the early innings and rely on that marvelous bullpen.

I didn't think Terry Francona had enough healthy, effective starters to get to the bullpen in the ALDS or ALCS; I was wrong, I don't think he has enough healthy, effective starters to get to the bullpen in this series either; I may be wrong.

I'm picking the Cubs, And, as often happens, I'm rooting the other direction.

1 comment:

  1. FiveThirtyEight (dot com) has it 63%/37% in favor of the Cubs, and they do seem the stronger team. They averaged 4.80 R/G in PS versus 3.38 R/G by the Indians. OTOH, Cleveland has a 1.77 ERA compared to 2.93 for Chicago.

    Cubs seem a bit better at the plate, the Indians a bit better on the mound. Should be an interesting WS!