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World Series 2016: Cubs vs. Indians Game 7 Pitching Preview, Predictions

The Chicago Cubs have won two must-games in a row. If they are going to win their first World Series since 1908, they will have to make it a hat trick.

The Cubs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in Game 6, thanks in large part to some shaky outfield play by the Cleveland Indians in the first inning and a grand slam by Addison Russell in the third inning. The Cubs came away with a 9-3 victory to tie the World Series at three games each.

The Cubs got on the board in the first inning when Kris Bryant hit a two-out solo home run, and they added two more runs when center fielder Tyler Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall let Russell’s fly ball drop between them.

Jake Arrieta was the beneficiary of Cleveland’s generosity and the Cubs’ offensive display, and he gave manager Joe Maddon 5.2 innings of three-hit baseball in which he allowed two earned runs.

However, as one-sided as the game was, Maddon appeared to make a strange move when he brought in closer Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning with a five-run lead.

Chapman, who had pitched 2.2 innings Sunday in a high-stress situation, pitched into the ninth inning when he was replaced Pedro Strop.

With the seventh game looming, just how much will Chapman have left in the tank?

Game 7 will belong to starting pitchers Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs and Corey Kluber of the Indians. Hendricks had a special regular season and has been sharp in the postseason with a 1-1 record and a 1.31 earned-run average in 20.2 innings. He has struck out 17 batters and walked six.

Kluber has had a dominant postseason as he has compiled a 4-1 record with a 0.89 ERA in 30.1 innings. He has struck out 35 batters and walked just eight.

Hendricks has had one more day of rest than Kluber, but the big pitchers in the Cleveland bullpen are well-rested. Andrew Miller has not pitched since Saturday, while Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw haven’t pitched since Sunday.

“This is the ultimate dream,’’ Hendricks told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “You dream of getting to the World Series, winning the World Series.”

Kluber was somewhat philosophical about his role. “First, and foremost,’’ Kluber told Nightengale, “it’s been a blast. I think we’ve all really enjoyed ourselves. I think we can take a lot from the way we approached it, not not treating it more than just each game is another game.’’

The Cubs scored three runs in Sunday’s Game 5 victory and then broke out with nine runs in Game 6. Bryant and Anthony Rizzo both hit home runs in the game, and Kyle Schwarber also had a hit batting in the No. 2 hole.

If the Cubs can continue to hit, they should have an excellent chance of ending their 108-year World Series drought. However, the Indians have their pitching set up well for the decisive game, and if Kluber can remain sharp, they will have an excellent chance of winning their first World Series since 1948.



The seventh game of the World Series is a special event, and the pitching matchup between Hendricks and Kluber seems somewhat reminiscent of the 1991 Atlanta Braves-Minnesota Twins matchup that featured John Smoltz squaring off against Jack Morris.

The Twins and Morris won that game 1-0 in 10 innings.

This game may not go extra innings, but it should be a memorable battle between two great starters.

However, the Indians have the stronger bullpen, and their top relievers appear to be in an excellent position. Look for the Indians to win the World Series as they earn a 3-2 Game 7 victory.

That will mark the end of Cleveland’s frustration, but the Cubs will go into 2017 with a 109-year dry spell.

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World Series 2016 Schedule: Cubs vs. Indians Game 6 TV Info and Predictions

One of the popular national narratives surrounding the Chicago Cubs is to talk about the 108-year dry spell since their last World Series title.

Another tact is to talk about the Billy Goat jinx that has been associated with the team since 1945, when the goat’s owner supposedly put a hex on the franchise for not allowing his pet into Wrigley Field for the World Series.

One more angle involves the ill-fated 2003 effort of a fan who pursued a foul ball that Chicago left fielder Moises Alou appeared to have an excellent chance of catching. When that ball wasn’t caught by Alou (or fan Steve Bartman, for that matter), the Cubs fell apart.

The current Chicago Cubs don’t care about history or curses. They are preparing to play Game 6 of the World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland at 8:08 p.m. ET, and their goal is simply to score one more run than the Indians and move on to a decisive seventh game of the World Series.

“We’re too young. We don’t care about it. We don’t look into it,” Kris Bryant told FS1’s Ken Rosenthal (h/t Larry Brown Sports via after the Cubs earned their spot in the World Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

The Cubs will send 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta to the mound to face Josh Tomlin. Arrieta was credited with the victory in Game 2 of the World Series, while Tomlin was on the mound in Cleveland’s 1-0 win in Game 3 before turning the game over to the Indians’ outstanding relief pitchers.

The Cubs were behind 3-1 in the series, but they picked up their first World Series win at Wrigley Field since 1945 when they defeated the Indians 3-2 in Game 5.

Bryant keyed a fourth-inning three-run rally with a leadoff home run in that inning, and the Cubs preserved the lead behind the pitching of Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman came on with one out in the seventh inning and kept the Indians from mounting a rally that would have tied the score or given them the lead.

Chapman had seemed most comfortable in one-inning close-out assignments, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon had talked to him about a longer assignment prior to the game.

“I talked to ‘Chappy’ before the game, so he was aware,” Maddon told the media after the game (h/t David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune).

In addition to having Arrieta on the mound, the Cubs will also have Kyle Schwarber manning the designated hitter role in Game 6. Schwarber, who tore two knee ligaments in early April, has not been cleared to play the field, but he demonstrated his offensive talent by picking up three hits in the first two games in Cleveland.

Schwarber has magnificent power, an excellent eye and the potential to help the Cubs extend the World Series to seven games.



Look for Arrieta and Tomlin to both pitch solid games, but neither pitcher will shut down the opposition.

The score will remain tied until late in the game, and that’s when the Cubs will rally and take the lead.

Chapman will once against get the ball and Maddon will ask him to pitch in the the eighth inning as well as the ninth.

The left-handed reliever will be pushed to the limit, but he will get the save and the Cubs will force the series to seven games.

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World Series 2016: Updated Cubs vs. Indians Predictions and Schedule

This time, it was the Chicago Cubs that got the lead in the early going, and this time, it was Chicago’s ace out of the bullpen that had the extended relief session and helped his team gain the victory.

The Cubs have lived to fight another day in the World Series, as they beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in Game 5 of the World Series. The Indians lead the series by a 3-2 margin, and the two teams will head to Cleveland for Game 6 of the series Tuesday night.

The Cubs got excellent starting pitching from Jon Lester, who gave up a second-inning home run to Jose Ramirez and little else in his six innings of work. Carl Edwards Jr. came on in the seventh inning to record one out and give up one hit, and that’s when Chicago manager Joe Maddon brought in fire-balling closer Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman has been anything but a sure thing for the Cubs since he was acquired from the Yankees, and he has usually done his best work when closing out games by pitching just the ninth inning.

But this time, Chapman pitched 2.2 innings, and he closed the game with a flourish, as he struck out Ramirez.

The Cubs scored three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead. Kris Bryant sparked the rally with a leadoff home run, his first of the series.

While all the Indians need to do is win one of the final two games at home to win their first World Series since 1948, the Cubs will send 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta to the mound in Game 6 against Josh Tomlin.

Arrieta has a 1-1 record in this year’s postseason, and he was victorious for the Cubs in Game 2 of the World Series in Cleveland. He pitched 5.2 innings of two-hit, one-run baseball, and when he is on his game, he is as difficult to hit as any pitcher in the game.

Tomlin was in top form in Game 3 when he pitched 4.2 innings of one-hit baseball without giving up a run. The Indians eventually picked up the 1-0 win in that game, as relief pitchers Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen finished the job for the Indians.

If Cleveland manager Terry Francona holds onto that strategy, Tomlin probably won’t pitch more than five innings in Game 6.

Arrieta can pitch longer than that, but Maddon may not ask him for much more than the six innings Lester pitched Sunday.

While the final two games will be played in Cleveland’s Progressive Field under American League rules, it may help the Cubs because they will be able to use slugger Kyle Schwarber as the designated hitter.

Schwarber, who tore two ligaments in his knee in early April, has not been cleared to play the field and was only able to pinch hit in the games at Wrigley Field. He had three hits in the two earlier games in Cleveland and is a major force in the lineup.



Arrieta may have a more difficult time in his second World Series start because he has not been as consistent in the second half of the season as he was in the first half.

Tomlin will also have a hard time matching what he did at Wrigley field. Look for both teams to come through offensively.

Look for Schwarber to come through with his first World Series home run, and the Cubs should pick up the victory in Game 6 and extend the World Series to a seventh and decisive game Wednesday night.

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Indians vs. Cubs: Game 5 Live Stream, TV Schedule and Latest Comments

After a brilliant season that saw them dominate the National League in the regular season, the Chicago Cubs are one loss away from elimination as they prepare for Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night.

The American League champion Cleveland Indians have jumped out to a 3-1 lead after winning back-to-back games at Wrigley Field. Cleveland won a nail-biting 1-0 game in Game 3 Friday night and then had a big offensive outing in a 7-2 victory in Game 4. Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis bashed home runs to lead the Cleveland attack.

While the Cubs are up against it right now, they are sending ace left-hander Jon Lester to the mound against Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer. Lester was not at his best in Game 1 of the series against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Meanwhile, in Game 2, the Cubs touched up Bauer, who was tagged with the loss.

If the Cubs can find a way to win Game 5 and send the World Series back to Cleveland, it could be significant. While they would still have to win two games in enemy territory to win their first world championship since 1908, they would get slugger Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup. 

Schwarber had three hits in the first two World Series games as the designated hitter, but he has not been cleared to play defensively as a result of the torn knee ligaments he suffered in April.

Schwarber‘s approach at the plate has been polished and powerful. Unlike many of the Cubs hitters, he does not swing at bad pitches, and when he gets the pitch he likes, he is capable of doing damage. His Game 1 double just missed going out of the park, while both of his Game 2 singles drove in runs.

Since Schwarber has not been cleared to play the field, he can only be used as a pinch hitter in Chicago. Cubs manager Joe Maddon told’s Bradford Doolittle the ideal situation is to use him against Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw. 

“Right there the better matchup, according to our work, is even Shaw over (Cody) Allen, and I just wanted to get him out there,” Maddon said. “There were no guarantees that we’re going to get to the bottom part of the batting order.”

The Indians never know what to expect from Bauer. He won 12 games in the regular season, but he has a 5.00 ERA in nine postseason innings.

“We expect a Trevor start,” Kipnis told the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “We’re not sure what that means, but we expect Trevor to go out there. He’s a competitor. Don’t let him fool you. He’s a guy who competes and never makes a moment too big. Whether he has it or not, it isn’t because the situation’s too big.”

On the other hand, the Cubs have confidence in Lester to give them a strong start, as evidenced by Kris Bryant’s remarks. 

“Jon is going to give us a good game,” Bryant told Doolittle. “He’s our ace for a reason.”

Maddon is tired of watching his team flail away at the plate against Cleveland’s bullpen. 

“We’ve just got to grab a lead,” Maddon told Doolittle. “We’ve got to grab a lead [before] the latter part of the game and avoid those [bullpen] guys with either being tied or them having a lead. That’s what we have to do.”

If the Cubs can do that, they should have an excellent chance of sending the World Series back to Cleveland for Game 6 Tuesday night.

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World Series 2016 Schedule: Indians vs. Cubs Game 4 TV Info and Predictions

The Chicago Cubs find themselves in a difficult situation as they prepare for Game 4 of the World Series.

The Cleveland Indians are sending ace Corey Kluber to the mound with a 2-1 lead in the World Series, and he has already dominated the Cubs lineup once. They need to find a way to get to him or they face the very real possibility of going down three games to one.

Going into the World Series, Cleveland manager Terry Francona set up his starting pitching rotation so Kluber could pitch Game 1, Game 4 and Game 7. In that scenario, the Indians would have to come out on the winning side of one other game if they were going to earn their first title since 1948.

They earned that victory in Game 3 as the Indians pulled out a 1-0 win with starter Josh Tomlin and relievers Andrew Miller, Bud Shaw and Cody Allen holding the Cubs in check.

The Indians scored the only run of the game in the top of the seventh inning as pinch hitter Coco Crisp lined a one-out single to right field that brought in pinch runner Michael Martinez. The Indians had threatened several times in the first six innings, but starter Kyle Hendricks and reliever Jason Grimm had quashed those threats with excellent pitching.

The Cubs did not have a strong threat until the bottom of the ninth inning. Anthony Rizzo singled to open the inning, and pinch runner Chris Coghlan advanced to second on a ground ball.

With two outs, pinch hitter Jason Heyward hit a ground ball that got to first baseman Mike Napoli on an awkward hop, and he could only keep the ball in front of him and was charged with an error. Heyward stole second, giving Javier Baez an opportunity with runners on second and third to tie or possibly win the game with a base hit.

Allen worked him perfectly and struck him out on a high fastball to end the game. The shutout was the Indians’ fifth of the postseason, a new major league record.

While Kluber will get the ball for the Indians in Game 4 at 8:08 p.m. ET (Fox TV), veteran John Lackey gets the starting assignment for the Cubs. Lackey has played the role of World Series hero in previous stints with the Anaheim Angels in 2002 and the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

Kluber had an 18-9 record with a 3.14 earned run average and a 1.056 WHIP during the regular season. He has been even better in the postseason with a 3-1 record, a 0.74 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP.

Lackey, clearly the Cubs’ No. 4 starter this season behind Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Hendricks, was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.057 WHIP. Lackey has pitched 8.0 innings in the postseason and has given up five earned runs as he heads into Game 4 of the World Series.

Kluber would appear to have the advantage, but he is pitching with just three days of rest. Additionally, the Cubs are now familiar with him, because he pitched 6.0 innings against them in the series opener.

However, they will have to swing the bats a lot better than they did in Game 1, when Kluber struck out nine and gave up just four hits without walking a batter.

Kluber told Paul Hoynes of that he is not worried about pitching on short rest. 

“It’s basically doing the same stuff in one less day,” Kluber said. “Your side sessions are a little shorter and things like that, but I’m still able to get in the things I need to do.”



The Cubs had the best record in the regular season by a wide margin this year, and they are a confident team. 

While they rarely had any problems in the regular season, the San Francisco Giants pushed them hard in the National League Division Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers also tested them in the NLCS.

They responded to adversity in both of those series, and they will in the World Series as well. Look for Lackey to play the role of bulldog on the mound and fight his way out of trouble. Kluber will have a strong game for the Indians, but the Cubs will do just enough to build a lead.

Look for the Cubs to come away with a 3-2 win and tie the series at two games each.

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World Series 2016: Indians vs. Cubs Game 3 Pitching Preview, Predictions

As the World Series moves to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945, the emphasis at the venerable National League ballpark is on the change of rules that does not allow for a designated hitter.

In most years, this is something that tends to hurt the American League representative, because that league has used the DH to bat for the pitcher since the 1973 season.

The National League never followed suit, and the leagues have competed under two sets of rules for 43-plus years.

The Cubs have gotten excellent production and a huge psychological lift from the return of Kyle Schwarber (torn knee ligaments), who manned the DH role in the first two games in Cleveland. Schwarber narrowly missed a home run in Game 1 when his deep drive to right field went off the top of the wall for a double, and he delivered two RBI singles in the Cubs’ Game 2 victory.

Shortly after that game ended, questions abounded on whether Schwarber would be able to play the field when the series moved to Chicago. Those questions were answered Thursday with a resounding no.

“Kyle has not been medically cleared to play the field, so he will not be in the lineup the next three games,” team president Theo Epstein told the media (h/t Jesse Rogers of “But we do look forward to him impacting the game as a pinch hitter for us, and certainly should the series return to Cleveland, he’ll be eligible to continue as a designated hitter.”

Game 3 will be played Friday night at 8:08 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox.

While Schwarber won’t be in the starting lineup, the Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks to the mound against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin.

On the basis of the way those two have pitched this year, Hendricks would appear to have the advantage. He is a legitimate Cy Young Award candidate as he finished the regular season with a 16-8 record and a superb 2.13 earned run average along with a 0.979 WHIP.

Hendricks was on the mound for the Cubs in their pennant-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Hendricks pitched 7.1 shutout innings as he allowed just two hits and struck out six. He did not give up a single base on balls.

Tomlin was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP during the regular season. He has pitched quite well in the postseason with a 2-0 record, a 2.53 ERA and a 0.938 WHIP.

Even if both pitchers are on top of their games, this could be a high-scoring game. The weather is likely to have an impact, because this late-October game is expected to start with temperatures at 63 degrees, according to Weather.comAdditionally, the winds will be blowing out to centerfield

When the wind is blowing in at Wrigley, low-scoring games are the rule. When the wind is blowing out, routine fly balls can turn into long home runs.

Prediction: Indians win 8-6

Look for the excitement level to be off the charts at Wrigley Field, and for the two teams to play an exciting back-and-forth game.

The Indians ultimately come out ahead because their bullpen comes through and the Chicago relief pitchers weaken.

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Indians vs. Cubs: Predicting Final Score for 2016 World Series Game 3

The Chicago Cubs had no reason to panic after losing Game 1. Although Jon Lester absorbed a defeat pitching against Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber, the Cubs had 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta on the mound in Game 2.

After a shaky first inning in which he walked two batters, Arrieta settled into a comfortable groove and shut down the Cleveland offense. At the same time, Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist got the offense going, and the Cubs evened the World Series with a 5-1 victory.

There was a sigh of relief in the Chicago clubhouse and throughout Major League Baseball. The Cubs were breathing easier because they avoided going home in an 0-2 hole, while the league was happy to get the second game in without a delay.

The game started an hour earlier than originally planned because the forecast called for rain, and if the the game had not reached its conclusion, it could have delayed the World Series even further, as more rain is expected on Thursday in Cleveland.

The Cubs should have a major advantage in Game 3. Not only do they return home to Wrigley Field and their adoring fans, they have Kyle Hendricks on the mound against Josh Tomlin.

Hendricks is a Cy Young candidate as a result of his brilliant 2016 season. He finished the year with a 16-8 record and had a brilliant 2.13 earned run average. He also had a remarkable 0.979 WHIP.

He is also coming off a brilliant performance in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he pitched 7.1 innings, allowed two hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter in the Cubs’ 5-0 victory.

Tomlin had a 13-9 record with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. Tomlin has a 2-0 record in the postseason, having defeated the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. He has a 0.938 WHIP in the postseason.

Tomlin has performed well in the postseason, but Hendricks had a brilliant season and is coming off a clutch performance against the Dodgers.

The Cubs also have the advantage with hitters like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Addison Russell. Additionally, Schwarber‘s return from the torn ligament that had sidelined him since early April is a remarkable story.

Schwarber has three hits in two games as a designated hitter. It remains to be seen if he will be cleared to play the field in the National League ballpark or whether the Cubs will only be able to use him in a pinch-hitting role.

For the Indians, the strategy is to get an early lead and turn the game over to the bullpen. Andrew Miller, who pitched two innings in Game 1 and was the ALCS MVP, did not pitch in Game 2 and will have the benefit of a day off on Thursday. He should be ready to throw another two innings before turning the ball over to closer Cody Allen.

Of course, that strategy only works if the Indians have the lead in the ninth inning.



The Cubs will return to their championship-hungry fans, and they will play well and build up a solid lead.

They will attack Tomlin and give Hendricks a 6-2 advantage, and he will pitch six innings before manager Joe Maddon turns the game over to his bullpen. The never-say-die Indians will cut into the lead, but they’ll still trail by two runs in the ninth.

Their chances will look slim when Aroldis Chapman comes into the game with his 103 mph fastball. However, the Indians will raise their concentration level and mount a rally. Mike Napoli will strike the big blow when he launches a two-run homer onto Waveland Avenue, giving the Indians a two-run lead.

Allen will come in and close down the Cubs. The Indians will stun the Cubs and their fans with an 8-6 come-from-behind victory.

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Cubs vs. Indians: TV Coverage, Start Time for 2016 World Series Game 2

The World Series schedule is always announced in advance, and as soon as the All-Star Game is completed and the home-field advantage is assigned to the victorious league, it’s simply a matter of filling in the teams that are champions of their respective championship series.

Once the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians had established themselves as league champions, we knew they would play Game 2 of the World Series at Progressive Field Wednesday night at 8:08 p.m. ET.

That was the case, but not anymore. Major League Baseball, in receipt of a weather report that indicated rain was likely later on Wednesday night, switched the start time to 7:08 p.m. with the hope the Cubs and Indians will complete the game before heavy rain forces a halt to the action.

Fox will televise Game 2.

After Cleveland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the series behind the dominant pitching of Corey Kluber, the Indians will try to stretch their advantage to 2-0 behind Trevor Bauer. The Cubs, who want to even the World Series at 1-1 before returning home to Wrigley Field for Friday’s Game 3, will send 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta to the mound.

Bauer will have to overcome a cut on the pinkie finger of his pitching hand, as well as the Cubs’ sluggers. He lasted just 21 pitches when he started Game 3 of the American League Championship Series before he was removed because his injured finger was bleeding.

Bauer told reporters he was confident he would be able to pitch in the World Series without incident, but he also said he was confident that his finger would not bleed prior to his ill-fated ALCS start.

“I wouldn’t take the mound if I didn’t feel confident I’d be able to pitch and help the team,” Bauer explained to reporters. “So, yeah, I’m confident like I was back then too.”

Arrieta had an 18-8 record with a 3.10 ERA during the regular season, but he has not been on top of his game this postseason. He takes a 4.91 postseason ERA into his start Wednesday night.

Arrieta explained that pitching in the World Series was his motivation for playing baseball. 

“It’s why you play the whole season,” he told reporters. “To hopefully be in this position to be one of the last two teams standing with an opportunity to win a World Series for your organization, your city, for your team, friends and family. So it means a ton.”

While the Cubs lost Game 1, they got a lift from the return of Kyle Schwarber, who doubled off Kluber and drew a walk off reliever Andrew Miller. Schwarber had not played since suffering two torn knee ligaments in an early-April game at Chase Field in Arizona.

The Indians got a boost in the series opener from catcher Roberto Perez, who clubbed two home runs. He had hit three home runs during the regular season but morphed from light-hitting catcher to Game 1 hero with his performance Tuesday night. 

“Oh, I don’t think I’ve ever had a night like that,” Perez told reporters.

Despite the six-run loss, the Cubs remain confident. Shortstop Addison Russell told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that the team fought harder than the score indicated. 

“I think there’s a sour taste in our mouth tonight, because I think that we put up a better fight than that,” Russell said. “I went outside my approach and kind of pressed a little bit. But you turn the page. You stay hopeful and you get better tomorrow.”

If the Cubs don’t get better, they will be in an 0-2 hole when they return home to the Windy City, and that’s something they want to avoid.

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World Series 2016: Odds and Prop Bets Info for Cubs vs. Indians Game 1

It has been a long time coming for the Chicago Cubs, but the oddsmakers believe that Chicago’s North Side baseball team will be celebrating at the conclusion of this year’s World Series.

The Cubs are -190 favorites over the Cleveland Indians, according to Odds Shark, while the Indians are +170 underdogs. The Cubs are attempting to win their first World Series since 1908, while the Tribe are trying to bring home their first title since 1948.

The Cubs are slight favorites to win Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland with odds of -113, while the Indians are -103 to take the opener.

Recent historical trends indicate that winning the World Series opener is vital, as nine of the last 10 Game 1 winners have gone on to win the World Series. The lone exception came in 2009, when the New York Yankees lost the opener at home to the Philadelphia Phillies but went on to win the championship in six games.

The first game comes with a full menu of drama, as both teams will start their aces. Corey Kluber gets the ball for the Indians, and in addition to having a wonderful regular season, he has been on point during the postseason.

Kluber was 18-9 during the regular season with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.056 WHIP. He also struck out 227 batters in 215.0 innings.

Kluber has a 2-1 postseason record along with a 0.98 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP. He has 20 strikeouts in 18.1 innings.

Jon Lester, a World Series hero during his run with the Boston Red Sox, will take the mound at Progressive Field for the Cubs. Lester was brilliant during the season with a 19-5 record, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.016 WHIP.

Lester has given up two earned runs in 21.0 innings during the current postseason, and he has also been remarkable throughout his career in the World Series. He has a 3-0 record with a 0.43 ERA and 0.762 WHIP.

The key for the home team is to have a lead in the middle part of the game, because that’s when manager Terry Francona likes to turn the game over to his outstanding bullpen.

Since Kluber is on the mound in Game 1, it is realistic to think that he should be able to get through the sixth inning and pitch into the seventh if there are no signs of trouble. At that point, the manager can give the ball to ace left-hander Andrew Miller, who can pitch through the eighth inning before letting closer Cody Allen pitch the ninth inning.

If Francona wants to go to his bullpen sooner, such as the fifth inning, he can get Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero involved.

The bullpen may be the one area where the Cubs are at a disadvantage in this series. This is not a weak spot for manager Joe Maddon, but Miller is probably the best reliever in all of baseball, and he is coming off an MVP performance in the American League Championship Series.

If the Cubs have the lead in the ninth, flamethrower Aroldis Chapman will get the ball. He can reach 103 mph on the radar gun (or even higher), but he has been hit hard on occasion and is not a guarantee to secure a save with a one- or two-run lead.

The Cubs have a powerful lineup with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Javier Baez, and they will get a lift with the return of slugger Kyle Schwarber. The powerful left-handed hitter has been out since early April with an ACL tear, but the Cubs activated him on Tuesday.

The Indians have a couple of power hitters of their own in Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, as both men hit 34 home runs this season. Shortstop Francisco Lindor, second baseman Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall are all solid offensive contributors.


Prop Bet

Based on the odds listed for the potential World Series Most Valuable Player, it seems the Cubs are likely to come away with the championship.

Four Cubs are listed among the top five candidates to come away with the World Series MVP Award. Kris Bryant is the favorite at +600, according to Odds Shark. Lester is the second choice at +750.

Miller is the only Indian to make the top five, and he has odds of +900, and that’s slightly better than Rizzo at +950. 

Jake Arrieta, the 2015 Cy Young Award winner, is +1200 to win the honor as the World Series MVP.

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World Series 2016: Bold Predictions for Cubs vs. Indians Showdown

The waiting will come to an end for the Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. That much is a given.

Both teams have been able to achieve to a very high level to get to this point. With the perspective of time, the Cubs and Indians will both look at the 2016 season as a success. But in the short term, one team will end up thrilled and the other will end up disappointed at having come so close before losing the World Series.

The oddsmakers favor the Cubs to win their first World Series title since 1908. They are minus-190 favorites, according to Odds Shark, while the Indians are plus-170 underdogs.

Those odds will not matter a lick to the players on the field. The Cubs certainly had the more impressive regular season with 103 wins, but the Indians won the American League pennant by beating the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.

The American League has long been considered the superior of the two major leagues, and that could leave the Indians in slightly better shape than many experts believe.

The World Series gets underway Tuesday night from Progressive Field in Cleveland, and the Indians will have the benefit of home-field advantage if the series goes seven games. Here’s a look at our key predictions for the way the World Series will play out:

1. The Cleveland Indians will jump out to a lead in the series. With their raucous fans helping out, the Indians will earn the victory in the Game 1 with Corey Kluber on the mound. 

Kluber is the Indians’ ace and he will get the best of Cubs starter Jon Lester. Kluber will dazzle the Cubs lineup by getting ahead in the count and putting the Cubs away with his devastating slider. 

Hope will spring eternal in Cleveland as the Tribe ride their stud and come away with the opening win.

2. The Cubs will show off their power in Game 2. This is a strong lineup that has its ups and downs in the postseason, but big hitters like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Javier Baez will flex their muscles and show the Tribe that they are ready for prime time and will make this a series.

3. The World Series returns to the North Side of Chicago for the first time since 1945, and the city is in an absolutely electric mood. While the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005 after their long drought, that was a non-event in comparison to what the city is feeling with the Cubs playing for the big prize.

It’s a huge party at Wrigley Field, and the mood grows even brighter as the Cubs build a four-run lead in the middle innings.

However, the Indians are a never-say-die kind of team, and they cut the deficit to two in the top of the ninth. Still, with Aroldis Chapman striding in from the bullpen, there is nothing but confidence emanating from the Chicago dugout.

Even though Chapman reached 103 mph on the radar gun, the Tribe rallies for four runs in the ninth, thanks in large part to a mammoth Mike Napoli home run. Cody Allen closes out the ninth and there is woe in Wrigleyville as the Tribe take a 2-1 lead.

4. Joe Maddon is under the gun because he could go with Jake Arrieta or Lester in Game 4, but he chooses to give John Lackey the ball. Lackey has a history of World Series success with the Anaheim Angels and the Boston Red Sox, and he wants the ball. He fairly well demands it, and Maddon has faith.

Lackey gives up a run in the first inning, but he shuts the Tribe down for eight innings. Maddon swallows hard and gives the ball back to Chapman for the ninth, and this time he strikes out the side on 12 pitches as the Cubs square the series.

5. It seems that Game 5 is a must-win game for the Cubs, because they don’t want to go back to Cleveland trailing 3-2 and being in a position where they are forced to win back-to-back road games.

Nevertheless, it is the Indians who come out prepared and they attack the baseball in the early innings. They get big hits from Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall, and they build a four-run lead in the sixth inning.

Terry Francona gives the ball to Andrew Miller and he douses the Cubs bats before giving way to Allen. The Indians come away with a 6-3 victory and head home needing one win to clinch their first World Series title since 1948.

6. The Cubs are a bit bloodied, but they are not beaten. They go to Cleveland knowing they need just two wins in a row to become champions.

The Cubs get a lift from an unlikely source in Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the disabled list before the start of the series. He has played sporadically to this point, but this time Maddon makes Schwarber his cleanup hitter.

The powerful left-handed hitter bashes two long home runs, and one swears they can see the resemblance to Babe Ruth as he rounds the bases. He certainly has the majestic stroke. The Cubs roll to a four-run win and square the World Series at 3.

7. The Cubs have a chance to go with Lester to close out the World Series, while the Indians are going to have to go with an array of pitchers since Kluber was on the mound for Game 5 in Chicago. He can give the Indians a couple of relief innings, but that’s it.

Francona works his bullpen masterfully, and the Tribe head to the ninth inning with a one-run lead. Baez legs out an infield hit to start the inning and steals second. After he’s bunted over to third base, he scores on an infield chopper by David Ross to tie the game. The Tribe can’t score in the ninth, and the seventh game goes to extra innings.

After two scoreless frames, Baez triples to right center and then pushes the envelope when he sees Jason Kipnis bobble the relay for a split second. His head-first slide allows him to score the go-ahead run. Maddon hands the ball to Kyle Hendricks—and not Chapman—for the fateful bottom of the inning.

The calm and cool Hendricks handles the assignment perfectly, and the Cubs break their long dry spell along with Cleveland’s hearts.

The Cubs become World Series champions, and Chicago throws a party that lasts until Thanksgiving!

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