It was a World Series for the ages, one that will be talked about for decades. But just how good was the series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians? The best?
A day after the completion of the 2016 World Series and many fans are still in shock. The day for which Chicago Cubs‘ fans wait for generations finally came. It will sink in at some point, but the celebration continues.
However, what is now almost never happened. In an instant, the game changed and the Cleveland Indians stormed back. One swing of the bat and the hope of all Cubs’ nation turned into hyperventilating anxiety. You felt it. I felt it. Even my wife, who became captivated by the drama, felt it. Fans sat back and took to Twitter, second guessing and analyzing every move and pitch.
We were nervous. Rightfully so, due to the overwhelming history of the team referred to as the “Lovable Losers.”
They are losers no more.
What’s a little more drama?
It was close. Too close. Sure, you know that the Chicago Cubs were down three games to one after losing two games at Wrigley Field. The tension was palpable. The Indians, poised to clinch the series, ending their 68 year drought, were confident. The Cubs offensive struggles plagued them all postseason. But not when facing elimination.
Three wins in a row and now the Cubs are World Series Champions. Doesn’t that feel odd to say? The Cubs ARE World Series Champions. Yep, still has not filly sunk in.
While Game 7 was an instant classic, so is the series in its entirety. It may well be the greatest we ever see. The rating for the final game rivaled that of NFL Conference Championships. And for good reason. It was the closest series in history.
A fantastic series from start to finish
The series was hard fought. Punches were countered by great pitching, which was then overtaken by clutch hitting. Corey Kluber established himself as one of the game’s best, while Kyle Hendricks continued to impress. Veterans like Coco Crisp and Ben Zobrist hit in clutch spots. The youth of the Cubs shined bright at moments, as did that of the Indians.
But, the individual moments do not tell the entire story. Watching every pitch of the series, you can see the fight in both teams. The drive to win, the desire to scratch out every run. It was a battle and a close one.
Inside the numbers
After all seven games, the teams ended tied with 27 runs for the series. The Cubs completed 245 at-bats with 61 hits, 10 doubles, two triples, eight home runs while walking 22 times. This lead to a split of .249/.316/.404. As for Cleveland, they finished with 232 at-bats, with 55 hits, 10 doubles, seven home runs, and 24 walks. Their final splits were .237/.321/.371. While only a slight edge overall, the Cubs had more chances. They also stole more bases, eight to four.
As for pitching, the stats were just as close. The Indians staff ended up with a 3.71 ERA with a 1.317 walks and hits per inning. Compare that to the 3.43 ERA and 1.254 WHIP for the Cubs. Of the 27 runs for each team, only 24 were earned runs for the Cubs. Twenty-six were classified as earned for the Indians.
So, for a per game average, each team scored 3.86 runs. The Cubs averaged 8.71 hits and 3.14 walks. As for the Indians, they averaged 7.85 hits and 3.43 walks.
The closest and, possibly, the greatest World Series in our generation. It was a joy to watch. And not just because the Cubs won.
Although, it helps.