It’s a bit of a surprise to say it’s unsurprising that the Cubs and Indians will actually meet in the World Series this year. Neither team has won the prize since the first half of last century and there haven’t been many close calls in the years since. But the two Central Division champs looked to be front-runners for most of the season, made the big moves to enhance their rosters at the trade deadline, and have ultimately played the best baseball this month to reach this point. The lead-up to this one has been as entertaining as any World Series in recent memory, but now it’s time for best part. The first two games in Cleveland are lined, with game one set for 8:00 PM tonight.
This might not be absolutely it for 2016 if the series extends into November, but I’ve only got one more write-up this month. I’m going to pass on game one, which is the type of game that no one should need action to enjoy. I ‘capped the total at 6.5 with Jon Lester set to duel with Cory Kluber. The winner is just about a pick so my numbers just about line up with the current prices. Without much of an angle, just enjoy game one like the Puritans did.
But I will get a jump on game two where I like Jake Arrieta to get a road win that will either even the series going back to Chicago or give the Cubs a commanding lead. I’ve suggested backing Arrieta twice this month and have been wrong both times, as Chicago has lost both of his postseason starts. But both of the losses have come against a left-handed veteran – first Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco and then Rich Hill in Los Angeles. Game two of the World Series will be the first time Arrieta pitches in some colder weather, in the familiar Midwest, against an opponent decidedly younger and less experienced than he. Trevor Bauer is scheduled to take the ball as long as his sliced finger has healed properly since he re-opened it in game three of the League Championship Series in Toronto. The Indians are optimistic enough to list him as the starter, with Josh Tomlin set to go in game three so I feel good enough to recommend fading him at this point too. It’s really not much to do with his finger, though. I’m kind of tripling down on Arrieta in a start that I feel better about than the previous two. The playoffs are where experience is supposed to trump youth. Arrieta and his beard know that and I think he simply finds a way to get a win in October.
Obviously now game one becomes extremely important for Cleveland at home because if they don’t get it, I believe they’re going to Wrigley Field down 0-2. It’s not a play but I do suggest taking the Cubbies on Wednesday night if tonight’s saintly viewing experience doesn’t do it for you.
YTD: 36-25-1 +5.17
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02