Chicago Cubs (0-0) at Cleveland (0-0)
When: Tuesday, October 25th 2016
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: FOX
The clubs with a long history of futility, will meet Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series when the Cleveland Indians host the Chicago Cubs. The Indians have the longest active streak of American League teams not to win a World Championship, while the Cubs haven’t won in 108 years. Cleveland got to this point with some strong pitching despite not having their Number 2 and 3 starters (Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco). The Indians made a move at the deadline bringing in Andrew Miller from the Yankees. The big, tall left-hander and ALCS MVP is proving his worth in the playoffs with 21 strikeouts and five hits allowed in 11.2 scoreless innings over six games. Cleveland swept the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS and took care of Toronto in five games to claim the AL pennant. Chicago had a little tougher road with the NLDS almost going to a fifth and deciding game against San Francisco until a dramatic comeback in Game 4 put things away. Then the Dodgers took a 2-1 series lead before the Cubs won the last three. The Cubs could get a boost at the DH spot with Kyle Schwarber, who has not played since undergoing surgery on his left knee in April.
Pitchers: Cubs – Jon Lester (2-0, 0.86 ERA) | Indians – Corey Kluber (2-1, 0.98)
Chicago will go with their hottest pitcher in Jon Lester, who started Game 1 of the NLDS and NLCS and was dominant in each. The two-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox was the co-MVP of the NLCS along with second baseman Javier Baez after allowing two runs in 13 innings in the series against the Dodgers. Lester, who gets the start over Jake Arrieta (Game 2), owns a 2.50 ERA in 19 career postseason games (17 starts) and is 4-0 with a 3.72 ERA in eight career starts at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Corey Kluber was named the Game 1 starter almost instantly after allowing nine hits over 13.1 scoreless innings in his first two postseason starts but struggled to close out the ALCS in Game 4 at Toronto, when he was hit for two runs in five innings and took the loss. Kluber’s 20 postseason strikeouts is one behind Miller for the most among pitchers still left in the postseason. Kluber did not walk a batter in his lone previous start against the Cubs and struck out 11 while allowing one run in 7.2 innings in August of 2015.
The Cubs bats have woken up and Lester is the perfect choice for Game 1. Cleveland didn’t hit the ball very well in the ALDS, but relied on great pitching to get past the Blue Jays. The Cubs are the favorite to win this series and I think they start by taking Game 1 Tuesday.
Pick: Cubs -110