Cubs in 6. This series can absolutely go seven games if the Indians pitch like they are capable. The problem is, they’re missing two of their best starters, which plays into the Cubs hands. If the Cubs can hit like they did in the last three games of the NLCS, it could be over in four. However, if the Cubs don’t hit, the Indians will take a couple games. Javier Baez will win the MVP. This kid lives for the moment, and no moment is too big for him. He’s been doing it all playoffs, and I expect the coming out party to continue.
This series has the potential to go a lot of different ways. The Indians are obviously a bit depleted as far as their rotation is concerned, but to this point it hasn’t really mattered. The Cubs, on the other hand, have everyone in their rotation healthy and ready to go. I think Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will continue to be the most reliable guys, but there are a few more question marks with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. Here’s the thing: if the Cubs continue to hit like they have the past few games, it’s over. But that’s a big if. I’m going to say Cubs in six. As for MVP, I’ll go with Anthony Rizzo. He really stepped up his game in a big way during the NLCS, and I think he’ll continue that trend in the World Series.
Getting to the World Series is no small accomplishment. The Indians went a combined 7-1 in the ALDS and ALCS, defeating AL East powerhouses in the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. The Cubs also faced two tough teams from one division in the NLDS and NLCS, going a combined 7-3 against the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In my mind, it’s hard to pick against the Cubs in this series. Cleveland is obviously on a roll and should not be taken lightly. Their bullpen has been lights out behind Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, but I have questions about their starting rotation and offense. While they do have 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber as an ace, after that the rotation lacks experience (although they’ve made it this far with it, so who am I kidding?). If this series took place while both teams were at full strength, the Indians rotation would be more than formidable. At the same time, though, their offense scored just 12 runs during five ALCS games, while the Cubs scored 23 over their final three NLCS games. With the addition of the DH for at least two games this series, the Cubs offense could become even more scary. I can’t see the Indians going down quietly, so my guess is Cubs win in 6.
When I saw Cleveland beat Toronto, I was almost as excited as when the Cubs hung five runs on Kershaw in Game 6. This match-up is one of historic proportions, that favors the Cubs in some significant ways. For one, Cleveland doesn’t have a lefty starter and the Cubs feast on right-handed pitching. In fact, the only two lefties on their pitching staff are Ryan Merritt and Andrew Miller. The Cubs have hit Miller well over his career, and he hasn’t faced them yet this year either. Both teams have pitching corps and batting lineups strong enough to make every game a potential shootout. I think this series will be won on the base-paths. Chicago will need to limit Cleveland’s speed and stay fundamentally sound on offense. The series will end in five at Wrigley Field. Javier Baez will be the MVP.