Photo via Sporting News
The 2016 World Series will feature the Cleveland Indians hosting the Chicago Cubs in a best-of-seven series. This matchup will feature the two franchises holding the longest championship droughts, with the Cubs sitting at 107 years, and the Indians at 67. Jayson Stark of ESPN noted that if the Cubs win the World Series, it will be the first time this happened since Roosevelt was president… Teddy Roosevelt.
The last time the Indians won the World Series in 1948, Harry Truman upsetting Thomas Dewey for re-election to the Presidency of the United States, was a bigger upset than the Indians beating the now defunct Boston Braves.
The Cubs enter as heavy favorites with an elite lineup and rotation; stars like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Addison Russell stand out offensively and John Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks have led the Cubs from the mound. In relief, the Cubs acquired one of the best closers in all of baseball, Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees mid-season. Kyle Schwarber, who tore his ACL and LCL early in the season, will make his return in game one, batting fifth and serving as the designated hitter for Chicago.
Schwarber was the silver lining in an otherwise disappointing first game for the Cubs; he went 1-3 with a hard hit double and a walk. In other news, big free agent acquisition Jason Heyward will start on the bench, as his poor performance has prompted manager Joe Maddon to go with Chris Coghlan in right field.
Cleveland has been dealing with injuries of its own as two of its top three starters, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, have been entirely out of the playoffs, making the Indians world series . In addition, outfielder Michael Brantley, who has played at an all-star level the past few seasons, remains out recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Indians will have to rely heavily on their ace Corey Kluber, as well as their elite-level bullpen headlined by Andrew Miller, who, like Chapman, was acquired mid-season from the Yankees. A healthy Cleveland squad would make this an intriguing matchup, but injuries to their high-end players will prove too difficult to overcome. Kluber will steal a game or two, but in the end, the Cubs’ depth throughout their team will lead them to their first championship in over a century. The Cubs will break the 107-year streak in six games, taking home the World Series on the road.