Cubs to Break Curse, End Years of Suffering

Zach Piatt

Sports Editor

108 years of waiting for Chicago Cubs fans. 78 years for the Indians fans of Cleveland. The wait will soon be over for one. I believe Back to the Future was just one year off. The “Lovable Losers” will be no more after five more games, and the Cubs will be World Series Champions.

The Chicago Cubs are in their first World Series since 1945. They are looking to win their first one since 1908. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

The Chicago Cubs are in their first World Series since 1945. They are looking to win their first one since 1908. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

The Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series. That’s something nobody has heard for a while, since 1945 to be exact. It wasn’t by accident either. Chicago’s dynamic pitching staff and All Star power hitting duo have led the Cubs to the biggest of baseball’s stages. The only team standing in their way is the Cleveland Indians.

After finishing the season just over .500 last year and missing out on the playoffs, Cleveland came back to earn the two seed in the American League this year, and now find themselves in the World Series as American League Champions.

The Indians were led this season by their electrifying young shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Lindor is one of the more athletic players in the league and makes a lot of plays on defense. He also led Cleveland in hits while sporting a .301 batting average in the regular season. Lindor was complemented nicely by long-time Indian Carlos Santana and newly acquired Mike Napoli. These two sluggers each hit 34 long balls over the course of the regular season and combined for 188 RBI. Only nine teams had a duo that hit more home runs than Cleveland’s Santana and Napoli.

It’s not surprising that the Cubs just so happen to be one of those nine. Kris Bryant, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year and likely NL MVP this year, cranked 39 bombs this season. He was joined by first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hit 32 homers and also led Chicago in RBI with 109. But the 103-win Cubbies have more in their lineup than just a couple guys who can hit baseballs a long way. Seven Cubs were selected to the 2016 NL All Star team, five of which were voted to start, including the entire infield of Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Bryant, and Addison Russell and center fielder/leadoff man, Dexter Fowler.

Advantage Chicago.

On to the pitcher’s mound.

Cleveland’s ace Corey Kluber led the Indians in just about every pitching category there is, including strikeouts (227) and WHIP (1.06). The 2014 AL Cy Young should give the Tribe one win. It takes more than just a one man staff to win though, especially in the postseason. Don’t get me wrong, Josh Tomlin, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer are quality pitchers and have gotten the job done this season, but they’re nothing compared to the Cubs’ top three hurlers.

Do you remember Jake Arrieta? You know, the 2015 NL Cy Young who was unhittable in the second half last year? Turns out he is human, and he’s also Chicago’s number three this year. He still had a good season, winning 18 games with a 3.10 ERA, but Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks stole the show. Lester, winner of 19 games, had an outstanding year on the mound and emerged as Chicago’s ace. He posted a 2.44 ERA, good for second in the league. The only thing more shocking than the ERA he put up is the fact that someone else’s was lower. That someone is Kyle Hendricks. A sub-3 ERA is impressive, but try 2.13. It’s unheard of. Both Lester and Hendricks will make a push for the Cy Young this year.

Advantage Chicago.

Now to take a look at each team’s road to the World Series.

Cleveland made quick work of the Red Sox, sweeping Boston and thus ending “Big Papi’s” career. Next up was Toronto and their high-powered offense. Even with Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson having a postseason of the ages for the Blue Jays, the Indians took them down in just five games.

The Cleveland Indians have a chip on their shoulder, and they are ready for their first championship in 78 years. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

The Cleveland Indians have a chip on their shoulder, and they are ready for their first championship in 78 years. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Lindor, once again, has been the driving force in Cleveland’s offense. He is leading the Tribe in batting, OBP, and slugging this postseason.

Kluber and Tomlin have been lights out on the mound, each earning a pair of playoff wins. The big story has been set-up man, Andrew Miller. Cleveland picked up the big lefty from the Yankees with just 26 games left in the regular season. Miller was the ALCS MVP and has fanned 21 batters in 11.2 innings pitched without giving up a run in the playoffs. Needless to say, the acquisition has worked out. Miller’s curveball with crazy movement will give Chicago fits should the Indians have a late inning lead.

The Cubs began their postseason by defeating the “even year” San Francisco Giants, winner of the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series. They were then given a scare from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but came away with the series after six games.

Bryant has carried his MVP play over to the playoffs, but it’s been Javier Baez who has given Chicago the lift they needed. Baez leads the Cubbies in hits, batting average, and RBI in the playoffs, earning him Co-NLCS MVP honors. Good thing he stepped up, because until game four of the NLCS, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell forgot how to baseball. Through game three, Rizzo and Russell went a combined 3-50 at the plate. Something clicked after Chicago went down a game. In the final three games of the series, they batted a combined .481 with four home runs and nine RBI. If they keep up that level of play, it’ll be tough to hold the Cubs’ lineup in check. Plus… Kyle Schwarber is back. He could DH for games in Cleveland, and we all know what he did last postseason.

Lester and Hendricks seem to get better as the stage gets bigger. Lester, the other Co-NLCS MVP, has put up a quality start in all three of his postseason starts with a 0.86 ERA. Both of Hendrick’s NLCS starts were against the great Clayton Kershaw. He was definitely up for the challenge, as he surrendered just one run in a total of 12.2 innings pitched. It’s nice for these Cubs starters to know they have Aroldis Chapman waiting in the bullpen to shut things down. He throws 103 mph by the way. Cubs pitchers have also helped themselves out at the plate this postseason, driving in six runs on the strength of four hits, including two homers.

Advantage Chicago.

Cleveland should take one game, possibly two, from Chicago, but the Cubs are just too good and too hot. The curse will be broken in a matter of days after 108 years of suffering.

Game one is tonight at 8 pm in Cleveland.

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One Comment on “Cubs to Break Curse, End Years of Suffering”

  1. Christian Dixie October 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Awesome article!

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