Tonight is the night. For the first time in seven decades, the Chicago Cubs are going to play in the World Series. Here are a few things to think about before the first pitch tonight.
Kyle Schwarber is back! After having surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his right knee, Schwarber was cleared to play on October 17th. He will be the designated hitter and bat in the fifth spot tonight. Initially it was thought that Schwarber would not be able to resume playing with the Chicago Cubs until spring training, but after taking some at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, Schwarber was ready to go. Schwarber will be taking Rob Zastryzny‘s spot on the roster.
“I’ll probably cry at some point today,” Schwarber told Jesse Rogers of ESPN. ” It was a long road, but once we stepped in between those lines, it’s game time.”
Taking the mound for the Cubs will be the veteran left-hander, Jon Lester. Lester is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA this postseason. As usual, Lester’s partner in crime will be catcher David Ross. Look for Ross to keep baserunners on their toes tonight.
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One surprising move is Jason Heyward sitting on the bench to start this game. And by surprising, I mean not surprising at all. Heyward is 2-for-28 with one RBI this postseason. Starting in right field will be Chris Coghlan, who’s looked good in his most recent plate appearances.
Starting for the Cleveland Indians tonight will be Corey Kluber. So far this postseason Kluber is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA. Kluber can be tough to hit, especially when his slider is working properly. But the Cubs have been hot at the plate lately, and they tend to hit right-handed pitchers much better than lefties. If they could handle Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw, they can certainly find a way to beat Kluber.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis sprained his ankle celebrating winning the ALCS, but is adamant that he’s ready to go. He’ll bat second in the Indians’ lineup. It will be interesting to see if his ankle ails him at any point during the game.
One player to watch for the Tribe will be shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor, who had a terrific regular season, has had an even more explosive postseason. With both his glove and his bat. Like Javier Baez for the Cubs, Lindor could prove to be a major game changer.
The first pitch will be at 7:08 PM CT on FOX. This one is special. Dexter Fowler will be the first player to take an at-bat for the Cubs in the World Series in 71 years. He will also be the first ever African American to play in a World Series for the Cubs. There’s a lot of history to be made tonight.
It’s been a surreal season for the Cubbies, and now it’s finally time to see them play for a championship. Patience is a virtue, I guess.
As always, EAMUS CATULI!