#954 Cleveland Indiansvs.#953 Chicago Cubs
Written by Chris Kubala
MLB: Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 8 pm ET
Lines: Chicago N/A, Cleveland N/A; Over/Under: N/A
It’s Game 2 of the World Series between two teams looking to claim their first championship in a very long time. The Chicago Cubs are on the road as they battle the Cleveland Indians on the shores of Lake Erie Wednesday night before the series shifts to the Windy City. Chicago won their first NL pennant since 1945 with a 5-0 win over the Dodgers Saturday in Game 6 of the NLCS. Cleveland knocked off Toronto 3-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS for their first pennant since 1997. Game 1 of the World Series saw lefty Jon Lester pitch for the Cubs against righty Corey Kluber of the Indians.
Chicago won their first pennant in 71 years by knocking off arguably the top pitcher on the planet in Game 6 Saturday night. The Cubs had just seven hits but five went for extra bases. Dexter Fowler (run, RBI) and Anthony Rizzo (run, RBI) each had two hits in the game. Rizzo (his 2nd of the NLCS) and Willson Contreras (his 1st) each hit solo shots for the Cubs in the win. Kris Bryant (run) and Ben Zobrist drove in first inning runs for the Cubs, who took a 2-0 lead and never looked back. Kyle Hendricks (1-1) got the win with 7.1 scoreless frames. He allowed just two hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Aroldis Chapman threw the final 1.2 innings. Chicago turned three double plays and picked off a runner, facing the minimum 27 hitters. The only other time that happened in postseason history was Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
Jake Arrieta takes the mound for his 34th start of the year overall and his third postseason start for the Cubs. The ace, who won the NL Cy Young last season, looks for a postseason victory here. Arrieta was 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA, a 1.084 WHIP and 190 strikeouts over 197.1 innings in the regular season. He is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP over two starts covering 11 innings in the playoffs. Arrieta took the loss in his last start, which was Game 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. He threw five innings, allowing four runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Arrieta makes his fifth career start against the Indians but just his second since 2012. He is 1-1 with an 8.69 ERA and a 1.932 WHIP over 19.2 innings. Arrieta won his lone start at Progressive Field, which came back in 2010. He allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Cleveland knocked off the Blue Jays in the ALCS despite hitting a lousy .168 in the series. The Indians mustered just six hits in their Game 5 series clinching win but it was enough. Francisco Lindor (run) had three of the Tribe’s hits. Carlos Santana (his 2nd) and Coco Crisp (his 1st) each hit solo homers in the win. Ryan Merritt was sharp in a spot start, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Bryan Shaw threw a scoreless inning, allowing two hits while fanning two to improve to 2-0 in the series. Cody Allen pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the series.
Trevor Bauer takes the mound for his third postseason start for Cleveland. He made 35 regular season appearances and 28 starts during the year. Bauer was 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.311 WHIP over 190 innings of work in the regular season. He has no record in the postseason with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP over 5.1 innings in his two postseason outings. Bauer took a no-decision in his last outing, which was in Game 3 of the ALCS. He threw two-thirds of an inning with two walks and a strikeout. Bauer left the game after re-opening a cut on his finger from a drone accident. Cleveland went on to a 4-2 win in that contest. Bauer beat the Cubs in his lone start against them, which came last year. He threw seven scoreless frames, allowing four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. This is his 53rd career appearance and 49th start at Progressive Field. Bauer is 16-15 with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.346 WHIP over 301 innings.
The Cubs have battled to get here and exorcised a lot of demons at this point in time. Cleveland is dealing with Bauer, who is dealing with that finger issue. While he claims to not be affected going forward, he said the same thing in his last start and lasted less than an inning. Arrieta seems to have regained his control, which deserted him somewhat in the second half of the season. He’s issued just one walk while fanning 10 in his two playoff starts. Chicago’s lineup is better at generating offense and that’s enough to give them the slight edge here.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.