World Series Expectations


Written by Matt Gusmerotti

We are at the last leg of the playoffs fans! Making it to the World Series is a remarkable achievement, in that fans get to see the two best teams in the MLB play each other, but also sad because that means no more baseball until March. The Cleveland Indians played the Toronto Blue Jays and beat them in five games and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. In the 2016 World Series, we will see the Cleveland Indians play the Chicago Cubs in a best-of-seven series.

There was a great pitching duel going into Game 1 of the ALCS, Corey Kluber of the Indians, facing off against Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays. Corey Kluber went a strong 6.1 innings, giving up six hits, two walks, and striking out six. Then, Andrew Miller came in for five outs, and struck out every batter he faced except for one. The bottom of the 6th was the determining factor in this game, when Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homerun, to ultimately win the game for his team. Although Estrada pitched well, it was not good enough to capture game one for his team.

Cleveland struck first in game one, winning 2-0, and they also struck first in game two, when Carlos Santana hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 2nd. Josh Donaldson then tied everything up at one, when he hit a two out, RBI double, then Cleveland made it 2-1, when Lindor, again, provided the winning run. Not a notable pitching game by any means from either teams. One pitcher who did stand out though, was Andrew Miller, coming in for two innings of relief, and striking out five of the six batters he faced in the process. Cleveland leads the series, 2-0.

There was a freak accident in game three, where the Indians starter, Trevor Bauer, threw only 21 pitches, when his pinky started gushing blood and he was forced to leave the game, after only recording two outs. The Indians used a total of seven pitchers and the Jays used five pitchers. It was a big night from Mike Napoli in this game, going 2-3 with a homerun, a double, and a walk. Napoli hit a RBI double in the 1st, and a homerun in the top of the 4th. Indians take game three, by a score of 4-2 and lead the series 3-0.

Game four was when the Blue Jays realized that they needed to step up, or else they were being sent home. In the bottom of the 3rd, none other than Josh Donaldson hit a homerun to take the lead for his team. In the 4th, Ezequiel Carrera hit a bloop single to make it 2-0 Toronto. In the 7th, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two run single making it 4-1 Toronto and finally in the 8th, Kevin Pillar hit a SAC Fly, finishing the game off 5-1. Cleveland still leads 3-1.

The hours leading up to the ALCS game five were crucial for both teams, getting ready, mentally prepping, and learning the game plan, and making remarks about the other team’s starting pitcher? Jose Bautista, said that game five starter for the Indians, Ryan Merritt, “should be shaking in his boots” saying that the rookie wasn’t ready for what is the biggest game of his career. In the top of the 1st, Napoli hit a RBI double, scoring Lindor and making it 1-0. In the top of the 3rd, Carlos Santana delivered a shot into the stands, making it 2-0, and then Coco Crisp also hit a solo shot, winning the game in the top of the 4th. Merritt actually threw an amazing game for the Tribe, going 4.1 innings, giving up two hits and striking out three. Andrew Miller threw 2.2 innings of relief, giving up one hit and striking out only one. Cleveland wins 3-0, and advances to the World Series. Andrew Miller was crowned the ALCS MVP, facing 26 Blue Jays, and striking out 14 in the process.

Heading into game one between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, this series was bound to be a good one, wild rides and extra innings predicted. The Cubs struck first, with a RBI double from Kris Bryant in the 1st inning and then Javier Baez also hitting an RBI double in the 2nd. Later in the inning, Baez stole home! Andre Ethier then cut into the lead by hitting a solo shot in the 5th. 3-1 Cubs. Adrian Gonzalez also came up big, hitting a two run single in the 8th, tying it all up at three a piece. Then, the magic happened, catcher Miguel Montero is subbed in as a pinch-hitter for Aroldis Chapman, and hits a Grand Slam to make it 7-3 Cubs. On the next pitch, while fans were still celebrating, Dexter Fowler hit a solo homerun, making it 8-3. Rookie Andrew Toles, in the 9th hit a RBI double, making it 8-4, but the Dodgers still lost a tough game.

What a performance from the pitching duo of Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in game two. Kershaw threw seven innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out six. Jansen, striking out four of the six batters he faced. The only run of this game, came off of a solo homerun in the 2nd inning from Adrian Gonzalez. Great game from the Dodgers pitching staff, and evening up the series in the process, 1-1.

The Dodgers kept up their hot play in game three, scoring six runs and a great start by Rich Hill. Hill went six innings, only giving up two hits and two walks and striking out six. It was a very un-Jake Arrieta-type game for him, throwing five innings, giving up six hits, four earned, and striking out five. The Dodgers six runs came from a RBI single from Corey Seager, a two run bomb by Yasmani Grandal, a solo shot from Justin Turner, a RBI double from Joc Pederson, and a RBI groundout from Grandal. Dodgers take a 2-1 series lead.

Game four was a complete 180 for the Dodgers, went from great play and all around teamwork, to a 10-2 loss. The brute force, John Lackey, took the mound for the Cubs, went four innings, gave up three hits and two runs with two strikeouts. Lackey was coasting in his first four innings, not giving up a run, but started off the fifth by giving up two and was taken out of the game. The Cubs had a four run fourth, Willson Contreras with a RBI single, Jason Heyward with a RBI groundout, and Addison Russell hitting a two run homerun. Top of the 5th, Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot to make it 5-0. Justin Turner then hit a two run single in the fifth, denting the Cubs lead, to 5-2. The Cubs proceeded to go all out in the sixth, scoring five, off of a RBI single from Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo hitting a two run single, and Javier Baez hitting a two run SAC fly (error from Pederson). Cubs win and the series is tied at two.

Game five was a must win from either team, both looking to gain some ground in this back and forth series. Jon Lester had something to say about that, going seven innings, giving up five hits, one run, and also striking out six. It was a masterful performance from Lester in this must win game. To start off the game, Anthony Rizzo hit a RBI double to lead the way for his team. Adrian Gonzalez in the 4th hit into a RBI groundout, but the game was tied. Addison Russell then comes up in the sixth and hits a monster homerun to dead center field to make it 3-1 Chicago. In the 8th, Dexter Fowler hit a RBI groundout, then Kris Bryant was called safe upon review on an infield single, but nevertheless, it scored a run and the Cubs were up 5-1. Then the gates were let loose for Javy Baez, a two run double, making it 8-1. Cubs win Game 5, and take a 3-2 series lead.

Game six, the elimination game. Who do you send out if you’re the Dodgers? Clayton Kershaw. Will he be as good as he was earlier in the series and in the NLDS? Nope. Kershaw gave up seven hits and four earned over five innings. Kyle Hendricks on the other hand, wow. 7.1 innings, two hits, and six strikeouts. This was the kind of game that they needed from Hendricks. The Cubs got five runs in this game, off of a RBI single from Kris Bryant, SAC fly from Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler with a RBI single, Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo both hitting solo jacks. The Cubs win and advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

What to expect in the World Series: In the best-of-seven series, all games will be played and we will have another World Series with November baseball. Both of these teams are the best, that’s why they’ve made it this far. Expect Andrew Miller to continue to be a dominant force out of the bullpen for the Indians. Anticipate lots of homeruns from both teams. This series is going to be an all-out war. Also, rumors were circulating before game six between the Cubs and Dodgers that if the Cubs win, Kyle Schwarber will be on the Cubs’ World Series roster. Runs, Runs, Runs, and more runs from both of these well above average offensive teams.