Game Previews

Game 7: The marathon turns into a one night sprint to the finish

While I was drinking my coffee this morning my wife came into the kitchen and said, “Game 7 tonight. Let’s get the fire pit going, move the projector outside, roast hot dogs, and I’ll make mac and cheese.” I love that woman.

The Indians will send Corey Kluber to the mound as he attempts to become the 14th pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to win three games in one World Series. Kyle Hendricks, who struggled in his Game 4 start, will take the hill for the Cubs.

It is an impressive list, that of the three game winners in the Fall Classic. Names like Christy Mathewson (1905), Red Faber (1917), Lew Burdette (1957), Bob Gibson (1968), Randy Johnson (2001) and Madison Bumgarner (2014) stand out.

How the Chicago Cubs adjust to Kluber will likely determine whether or not they are able to win tonight. Kluber has been sensational in his two winning efforts thus far, hurling 12 innings while only surrendering 9 hits, one earned run and one walk. Kluber’s 15 strikeouts have been a big part of his success. It will be interesting to watch how Terry Francona handles the bullpen in this do-or-die situation. Andrew Miller could be up and ready to go in the 4th if Kluber finds himself in any tight jams.

Kyle Hendricks was unusually hittable in his Game 4 start. The Indians knocked Hendricks around, giving up 6 hits over 4.1 innings pitched. He will need to be much better tonight if Joe Maddon wants to give the ball to Aroldis Chapman with a lead.

As far as predicting this one, I’m just not going there. These teams have run the marathon and they are now facing a one night sprint. I look forward to watching either city celebrate what they have waited a lifetime (or two, or three) to witness. The stars will be out (literally and figuratively) in Cleveland, but these games usually have an unsung hero making a tremendous play or blunder. Check back tomorrow for analysis. Enjoy the game.

**Photo credit to Arturo Pardavila III, check him out on Flickr!**

The sun sets over Cleveland's Progressive Field by Arturo Pardavila III

Give me Game 7, or give me death

It can’t happen tonight. I’m just not ready.

With another elimination game staring the Cubs in the face, they will send Jake Arrieta to the mound on an unseasonably warm night in Cleveland. I can’t switch over to winter when there are baseball games being played in short sleeves.

Please Kris Bryant. I beg you Anthony Rizzo. I NEED THIS, Javier Baez. Just give me one more day.

Patrick Henry statue on the square in front of the courthouse.

Patrick Henry statue on the square in front of the courthouse. “Give me liberty, or give me death.” By Anne Davis

Jake Arrieta, go out there and shove seven strong so Maddon can turn it over to Chapman.

Sit down Francona, quit managing your tail off. Game 3 was one of the best managing jobs I have ever seen as you moved Miller, Shaw and Allen through the game perfectly. Just don’t do it tonight, I need another day.

Stay in the ‘pen Miller. Save it for tomorrow. Save it for a crucial face-off with Ben Zobrist with runners in scoring position.

I don’t want to hear about Zeke Elliot’s domestic abuse case and whether or not Durant is a good fit in Golden State. Give me one more day away from this brutal election season.

I want all eyes on baseball tomorrow. Hendricks v. Bauer in Game 7 would be something to see.

Just get me to Game 7, Chicago.

Prediction: Cubs offense, Hendricks and Wrigley will be rocking as the Cubs dominate in Game 3

Wrigley Field will be dressed to the nines tonight when the Cubs take the field to take on the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the World Series. It will be a balmy 62 degrees at first pitch and should remain in the 60’s throughout the course of the game. Clearly, God loves baseball.

The Indians will send Josh Tomlin to the mound to face-off against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. Tomlin is coming off of a tremendous start against the Blue Jays in the ALCS (5ip, 3h, 1er, 6k’s, 2bb’s) while Hendricks last faced the Dodgers in the NLCS and was dominant. In 7ip, Hendricks only surrendered 2 hits while striking out six.

Tonight, BoT anticipates that the Cubs line-up will get the better of Tomlin who is far too hittable to get through an offense like the Cubs. Power pitchers dominate in the playoffs (Kluber and Arrieta are the most recent examples) and Tomlin is not one of them. Tomlin only struck out 118 batters over 174 innings and gives up over a hit per inning.

Meanwhile, Hendricks only allowed 142 hits over 190 regular season innings. Hendricks is less hittable and is more likely to get a strikeout when needed. Hendricks, Chapman and the Cubs offense will dominate tonight.

Prediction: Cubs over Indians

Photo Credit to Arturo Pardavila III (This guy is a tremendous photographer, check him out!)

Cubs flip the script, strong pitching and lively bats lead to Game 2 victory

The Chicago Cubs even the World Series last night as they beat the Indians by a score of 5 to 1.

Pitching: Jake Arrieta was brilliant and held a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Arrieta’s power arm and devastating breaking ball led the Cubs to victory. Arrieta finished the night with a line of 5.2ip, 1er, 2h’s, 6k’s and 3bb’s. Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman finished the game in dominating fashion, only allowing two hits (both Montgomery) over the final 3.1 innings while combining to strike out six.

As BoT predicted, after the long layoff for Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer that he would not be as sharp since his last extended start. Bauer was battered around by the Cubs surrendering six hits in 3.2 innings of work. Bauer also walked two in the losing effort.

Zach McAllister couldn’t stop the bleeding when he came in relief of Bauer. McAllister was wild and coughed up two earned in the 5th before being pulled for the equally brutal Bryan Shaw. The Indians bullpen was unable to keep the Cubs from expanding their lead and they will have to rebound in Game 3 to have a chance at regaining their lead in the World Series.

Hitting: The Cubs slammed Bauer and the Indians ‘pen. Seven of the Cubs starters had hits last night with Zobrist and Schwarber collecting two a piece. Zobrist is 5 for 8 in the World Series thus far after struggling in the NLDS and NLCS, going a combined 6 for 36.

The Indians only mustered four hits, two of them coming from Mike Napoli. Not a whole lot to say there.

Check back later for a preview of Game 3 as well as our new logo and featured brewers!

 

**Photo Credit to Arturo Pardavila III**

Game 2 Prediction: Arrieta, Chapman and the Cubs will pull even tonight

The Corey Kluber Show is over (for now) and the Indians and the Cubs will reconvene at Progressive Field tonight, an hour earlier than originally scheduled.

Jake Arrieta will face off against Trevor Bauer. Arrieta has been up and down in his postseason career while Bauer is coming off of a bloody start in Toronto (those damn drones will get you every time).

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Trevor Bauer by Arturo Pardavila III

Arrieta will look to bounce back from a poor start in the NLCS, where he surrendered four runs against the Dodgers. Arrieta is more of a power pitcher than Jon Lester (the losing pitcher in Game 1) and could give the Cleveland hitters fits on a cold and rainy night.

Trevor Bauer has only thrown to four hitters since his October 6th start against the Red Sox in the ALDS (Bauer did throw well against the Sox) and may struggle to find his command. Look for the Cubs to work the count and ultimately punish a less than stellar Bauer this evening. Bryant, Rizzo and crew won’t look that bad (a combined 15 k’s for the team last night) two nights in a row.

While the Indians deployed their top-tier bullpen arms last night, the Cubs saved Chapman in a game that was out of reach. If the Cubs can get six strong innings, which I believe they will out of Arrieta, they can turn it over to Rondon and Chapman to close the door.

PREDICTION: Cubs over Indians

**Photo of Jake Arrieta credit to Arturo Pardavila III**

Indians starter Corey Kluber delivers a pitch in ALDS Game 2 by Arturo Pardavila III

Game 1 Prediction: Cleveland base stealers, Kluber and the ‘pen will lead the Tribe to victory

Jon Lester and Corey Kluber will face-off tonight in what promises to be an exciting Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. Both pitchers have dominated in the postseason thus far, both sporting E.R.A.’s under 1.50 in the playoffs.

Lester and Kluber rely heavily on their ability to strikeout their opponents. Kluber averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings this season while Lester was only a tick behind at 8.7 strikeouts per nine. Whoever has the ability to execute when it matters most, especially in the early innings, will give their team an edge as both managers turn the game over to their stellar bullpens.

For the Indians, the acquisition of Andrew Miller morphed the team into a lethal October ball club. Because managers are able to use their bullpens differently in the playoffs (heavier workloads are more prevalent because of the frequency of off days), the Indians are going to try and shorten tonight’s game. If they can get ahead and turn it over to Miller in the 6th, it will spell trouble for the vaunted Cubs offense.

Yesterday, Kevin Millar of MLB Network criticized those who believe that the Indians will win Game 1 game simply because they will steal bases on Jon Lester and his inability to throw the ball to any base. Millar cited the Indians propensity to steal bases throughout the regular season did not extend into the postseason, as they have only stolen three bases over the course of eight games.

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Jon Lester by Arturo Pardavila III

However, I would argue that Francona and the Tribe were simply being more selective with where they chose to steal bases because of the impact their bullpen has at the end of the game. The Indians only stole three bases, but they were all early in the game off of the opposing teams starting pitchers. Mike Napoli (yes, the 34 year old 225 pound Mike Napoli) swiped a base off of David Price in Game 2 of the ALDS in the bottom of the third.

Rajai Davis stole a base in Game 2 of the ALCS when J.A. Happ was pitching in the bottom of the third. In Game 3 of the same series, Coco Crisp stole second off of Marcus Strom in the top of the second inning.

All three bases were stolen early in the game, which seem to correlate with the Indians game plan of getting ahead early, and turning the game over to Miller and closer Cody Allen. The Indians do not need to be aggressive later in the game when all they have to do is keep their opponent. The confidence Francona has in his bullpen (specifically Miller and Allen) was represented in his decision to not run later in games.

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Kipnis and the Tribe will look to run early and often on Lester in an effort to hand a lead over to Miller and Allen. PHOTO CREDIT: “Jason Kipnis, J.J. Hardy” by Keith Allison

While the line-ups have yet to be announced, the Indians will likely try and run early and often to get a lead. Do not be surprised if Francona hands the ball to Miller in the 6th rather than trying to squeeze and extra inning out of Kluber. I am taking Kluber, the bullpen and Cleveland base stealers to lead the Tribe to victory in Game 1.

Game 1 Prediction: Indians over Cubs