There are no two better words in all of sports than “Game 7,” and that is just for a normal playoff series.

The 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians is no normal series.

The Cubs famously haven’t won a championship since 1908, while Cleveland’s last World Series title came in 1948. One of those teams will end decades of frustration with one single victory on Wednesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Chicago forced Game 7 with a 9-3 victory in Tuesday’s Game 6. It drilled three home runs, one of which was a grand slam from Addison Russell that accounted for four of his six RBI, and received 5.2 innings of solid work from Jake Arrieta.

He allowed only two earned runs, while his counterpart, Josh Tomlin, gave up six in just 2.1 innings.

Everything will be on the line when the two teams take the field on Wednesday. With that in mind, here is a look at the schedule and a breakdown and prediction for what promises to be a tension-fraught battle between two sides looking to end extensive title droughts.

The schedule information is courtesy of




Breakdown and Prediction

Starting Pitchers

While Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta entered the 2016 season as household names, Kyle Hendricks was Chicago’s most effective starter throughout the year. He finished the campaign with a 2.13 ERA and sparkling 0.98 WHIP and is a legitimate National League Cy Young Award candidate.

Cleveland will counter with its best starter, who already has two impressive outings in the World Series under his belt. Corey Kluber started Games 1 and 4 and allowed a measly one earned run in 12 innings of work. He struck out 15 and flummoxed Chicago’s bats on the biggest stage.

The only real concern with Kluber from the Indians’ perspective is the notion this is his third start on short rest in this World Series alone. Chicago’s powerful lineup that flexed its muscles on Tuesday already saw him twice in the span of six games and will get another crack at the effective righty with the championship trophy hanging in the balance.



Andrew Miller and Cody Allen watched Chicago’s straightforward victory from the bullpen and never entered the game. While Cleveland clearly would have preferred its two best bullpen pitchers to lock down a win, they will each be fresh and ready to go in Game 7.

On the other side, Aroldis Chapman threw 20 pitches total in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings for the Cubs a mere two days after throwing 42 pitches in Game 5.

That is an enormous advantage for Cleveland, especially if Kluber is able to shorten the game with another stellar outing.

However, Cubs manager Joe Maddon has something of a trump card that Cleveland doesn’t—Lester. The National League Cy Young Award candidate pitched six innings and allowed two runs in a Game 5 victory and finished the season with a 2.44 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.

In the do-or-die Game 7 scenario, Lester will likely be available to pick up any slack for Hendricks or take the contest from the middle innings to the ninth, where Chapman will be waiting. Mike Axisa of CBS Sports suggested as much:

Ultimately, having the Miller and Allen combination fresh and ready behind Kluber is a serious boost for the Indians, but Lester can throw a handful of innings and help Chicago end its 108-year curse.



It would be justified for Cleveland fans to be concerned with Chicago’s offensive explosion on Tuesday. The Cubs finished with nine runs, and Kris Bryant, Russell and Anthony Rizzo all launched home runs. 

Russell’s was a grand slam to give Chicago a 7-0 lead in the third inning, which essentially ended most of the Game 6 drama.

Last time the Cubs broke out like that, they scored 10 runs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series and parlayed that into eight runs in Game 5 and five runs in Game 6. Those five runs in Game 6 came against three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, so any thoughts that Chicago can’t hit dominant pitching in the pressure-packed playoffs would be false.

As for Cleveland, it finished fifth in the major leagues in total runs this season and already has two games in this World Series with at least six runs.

It may have been overmatched in Game 6, but Jason Kipnis had three hits and finished a triple short of the cycle. It didn’t score off Hendricks in his Game 3 start, but it did force him from the game after just 4.1 innings of work with six hits and two walks.

Don’t assume the Cubs are the only ones with offensive firepower in this game just because they are the ones with marquee names like Bryant, Rizzo, Russell and Kyle Schwarber.



Ultimately, the fact this will be Chicago’s third attempt at Kluber in the World Series will play a factor.

The hitters will have an idea of what to expect and seize an early lead after gaining momentum in Game 6, which will limit the impact Miller can have in the middle innings. From there, Hendricks will prove his 2016 campaign was no fluke and get the ball to Lester in the seventh.

The southpaw will then work two innings before putting the World Series in Chapman’s hands.

The fireballer—who “said he will be available, without limitations,” per Jon Morosi of MLB Network—will close out Cleveland and end 108 long years of suffering from the Cubs fanbase.

Prediction: Cubs 4, Indians 2

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