World Series Preview: Cubs vs. Indians – Oct 25-Nov 2; Game/TV Info, Pitching Match-ups, Keys to Series

Well, this is it folks, it’s really happening. The Chicago Cubs will line up on Tuesday to play the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic, THE World Series. We all know the narrative by now, neither team has won in a long, long time – Chicago 108 years (1908) and Cleveland 68 years (1948). So one way or another there are going to be a whole bunch of fans at the end of this that have waited way, way, way too long to party.

The Chicago Cubs got here by taking down the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. They combined to outscore the Dodgers 31-17 over series. Although the Cubs were held scoreless in games 2 and 3 of the NLCS, their bats came alive in games 4, 5 and 6 when they combined for 33 hits and 23 runs. It was the type of offensive explosion we’ve gotten used to all season and a great sign for the Cubs as they head into the World Series against a depleted Indians starting pitching staff.

The Cleveland Indians made it through the American League playoffs by dropping only one game along the way. Their most dominant pitcher was not a starter but rather a middle reliever in Andrew Miller. You may recall that Miller was a highly coveted reliever at the trade deadline that the Indians managed to pry from the New York Yankees. The Indians outscored Toronto 12-8, modest by comparison to the Cubs scoring rampage. They’ll have to do better than that if they want to compete against the best offense in baseball.

Game times and broadcast info 

  • Tuesday, October 25 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Cleveland
  • Wednesday, October 26 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Cleveland
  • Friday, October 28 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Chicago
  • Saturday, October 29 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Chicago
  • Sunday, October 30 at 7:15 PM CT on FOX at Chicago (if needed)
  • Tuesday, November 1 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Cleveland (if needed)
  • Wednesday, November 2 at 7:08 PM CT on FOX at Cleveland (if needed)

Starting pitchers (probable)

2016 Postseason Stats            
Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L WHIP
10/25 Jon Lester 32 L 0.86 2-0 0.76
Corey Kluber 30 R 0.98 2-1 1.09
10/26 Jake Arrieta 30 R 4.91 0-1 1.18
Trevor Bauer 25 R 5.06 0-0 1.50
10/28 Kyle Hendricks 26 R 1.65 1-1 0.80
Josh Tomlin 32 R 2.53 2-0 0.94
10/29 John Lackey 37 R 5.63 0-0 1.88
Ryan Merritt 24 L 0.00 0-0 0.46
10/30 Jon Lester*
Corey Kluber*
11/1 Jake Arrieta*
Trevor Bauer*
11/2 Kyle Hendricks*
Josh Tomlin

Note: What we do know is that the Cubs order is set. The Indians order is a moving target. Trevor Bauer may go in game two but that’s contingent on the health of his finger, which he cut during the ALCS while fiddling with a drone. If Bauer doesn’t pitch in game two then he’d likely move to game three with Tomlin moving into the game two spot. Ryan Merritt is also a maybe for game four. Word is that you may see Kluber there, depending on the status of the series. And finally, games 5, 6 & 7 are all if necessary and those match-ups may change as well. So, consider this guidance more than authoritative.

Keys to the series

  • As mentioned above, the Cleveland Indians starting pitching is in about as much a state of disarray as you could ever expect to see for a team in the World Series. Beyond Corey Kluber, there’s a whole host of unknowns and TBD’s. Danny Salazar, who last appeared in a major league game on Sept. 9, did make the roster so conceptually that will provide the Indians with some options but I’d be surprised to see him start. I expect to see the Cubs offense coming out swinging and scoring a lot of runs on this beleaguered pitching staff. If, somehow, the Indians are able to limit the Cubs from scoring, then that could spell trouble.
  • The Cleveland Indians last played nearly one week ago, last Wednesday to be precise. It may be a challenge for them to get into the swing of things especially against a Cubs team whose offense has just started piling up video game-like numbers against the Dodgers. The Cubs last game was on Saturday so I’d expect them to be more in a rhythm in this series, especially early on. We’ll see if this becomes a factor or not.
  • Kyle Schwarber is in Cleveland and, as we reported yesterday, he’s expected to make the roster and may also DH in game one tonight. This is especially intriguing since the Indians have all but two right-handed pitchers. Could Schwarber make an impact in this series? Will he be able to slow down his at-bats enough to catch up with the Indians pitchers? If anything, it’s a tantalizing tale that could take on a storybook ending for the Cubs.
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