Tag Archives: ALCS

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Cubs win! Memorable Cubs-Indians World Series Game 7 goes to extra innings, makes fans wait longer for a title

This year’s World Series set up to give a long-suffering fan base its first championship in generations. Either the Cubs would have won their first World Series title since 1908 or the Indians would have accomplished the feat for the time since 1948. The Indians had more rest going into the series, having beaten the Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS, but the Cubs had the best record in the majors this season and appeared to have the best overall team heading into the Fall Classic, particularly with getting Kyle Schwarber back for the first time since April to perform DH duties in Cleveland and pinch hit in Chicago.

After taking a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Indians looked like they would be able to cruise to the title, especially with two of the final three games at their home park, Progressive Field. The Cubs’ bats finally came alive, though, in Games 5 and 6 to give the Cubs two in a row and force the decisive Game 7 with the Cubs sending presumed NL Cy Young winner SP Kyle Hendricks to the mound and the Indians using their ace, SP Corey Kluber, who was making his third start of the series and second straight on short rest.

The Cubs got off to a quick lead in Game 7, with OF Dexter Fowler hitting a leadoff home run — the first ever in a World Series Game 7 — to put the Cubs on the board first.

The Indians tied it with a Carlos Santana RBI single in the bottom of the third. The Cubs retook the lead in the fourth, with a two-run inning thanks to RBIs by SS Addison Russell and C Willson Contreras. They added to the lead in the next inning with a solo home run by 2B Javier Baez and 1B Anthony Rizzo‘s RBI single. Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Indians cut the lead in half by scoring two runs on a wild pitch by P Jon Lester, who came into the game after 4.2 innings from Hendricks. C David Ross, who entered the game with Lester and his playing in the final game of his career, hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to make it a 6-3 game. After Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, OF Brandon Guyer hit a RBI double to make it a 6-4 game. It became a whole new ballgame one batter later when OF Rajai Davis smashed a two-run shot to left field, the first postseason home run of his career, to tie the game at 6-6.

Hendricks pitched well but was pulled by manager Joe Maddon after 4.2 innings, four hits, two runs (one earned), a walk and two strikeouts. Lester had a strong performance in his first relief outing since the 2007 ALCS as a member of the Red Sox; he went 3+ innings, allowing three hits and an unearned run while walking one and striking out four. Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, who threw 62 pitches in the previous two games, gave up the three-run lead he had inherited and failed to get the four-out save. He did get through the ninth inning, though, to force extra innings.

On the Indians side, Kluber went four innings for the Tribe, giving up four earned runs on six hits with no walks or strikeouts. RP Andrew Miller, who has been the key to the team’s bullpen throughout the postseason, allowed two earned runs on four hits in 2.1 innings; he walked one and struck out one. RP Cody Allen, the team’s closer, came in next and went two innings, before giving way to RP Bryan Shaw, who came into the game with one out and a runner on first in the top of the ninth. He got through the inning without the runner scoring that’s to an acrobatic play by SS Francisco Lindor to end the inning and leave OF Jason Heyward stranded at third.

After a 17-minute rain delay, extra innings began with a leadoff single by Schwarber off of Shaw. Three batters and one out later, OF Ben Zobrist gave the Cubs the lead again when he drove in Schwarber with a RBI double that set up runners on second and third with one out. C Miguel Montero then scored Rizzo with a base hit up the middle that made it 8-6 and loaded the bases. The Montero hit also ended Shaw’s night, as Indians manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen to bring in P Trevor Bauer, who hasn’t had a good postseason but got the two outs he needed to get to keep the bases loaded and keep it a 8-6 game heading into the bottom of the 10th.

With Chapman done for the night, the responsibility of getting the final three outs of the game fell to RP Carl Edwards Jr.  After striking out 1B Mike Napoli to start the inning, he got 3B Jose Ramirez to ground out to Russell at short. That left Guyer as the Indians’ last hope to extend the game. He did just that by drawing a walk, which brought Davis to the plate to try to do what he did in the eighth and tie it with a two-run home run. Davis couldn’t duplicate that feat, but he did make it 8-7 by driving in Guyer with a RBI single. That was it for Edwards’ night as RP Mike Montgomery came in from the bullpen to try to get the final out. He got the job done, inducing a groundout to 3B Kris Bryant by OF Michael MartinezMichael Martinez.

Although Chapman was charged with a blown save, he ends up earning the win as the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years. Montgomery earned the save, and Shaw was tagged for the loss. Zobrist was named World Series MVP. And there will be celebrations going on in Wrigleyville all night long as the longest championship drought in U.S. pro sports history has officially ended with the Cubs’ first championship in more than a century. Fitting that their fans had to wait through a rain delay and an exta inning before being able to celebrate.

It was quite a season for the Cubs, ending with something that some people thought might never happen again. Now the question becomes how long will it be until the Cubs win it all again? Can they repeat in 2017?

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2016 World Series preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians — A battle of the droughts

With the conclusion of the ALCS and NLCS, we have reached what may be the most anticipated World Series in quite some time with the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won the World Series since 1948, taking on the Chicago Cubs, whose World Series-winning drought famously dates back more than a century to 1908, and their last World Series appearance taking place in 1945 — before the World Series was even televised.

Regardless of the lack of World Series success the teams have had in their respective histories, they both deserve to be in this year’s Fall Classic; the Cubs had a MLB-best 103 wins during the regular season, while the Indians’ 94 wins left them one victory behind the Rangers, giving them the second-best record in the American League. The Indians bulldozed their way through the American League playoffs, sweeping the Red Sox in the ALDS and beating the Blue Jays in the ALCS, losing just one game to win the series in five. The Cubs’ path to the World Series was a little more difficult; they needed four games to beat the Giants in the NLDS and the Dodgers took them to six games in the NLCS.

The American League won this year’s All-Star Game for the fourth straight season, giving the Indians home-field advantage in the World Series. As a result, Games 1 and 2 will be in Cleveland. Wrigley Field will host its first World Series game in 71 years on Friday when Game 3 takes place, with Games 4 and, if necessary, 5 following it over the weekend — assuming there are no weather issues that affect the schedule. If Games 6 and 7 are necessary, they are scheduled for Cleveland on Nov. 1 and 2, respectively. First pitch for all games, except Game 5 on Sunday, are scheduled for 8:08pm Eastern; first pitch Sunday is at 8:15pm Eastern. All games are on Fox in the U.S.

The Cubs have the advantage in the starting rotation, led by likely National League Cy Young winner SP Kyle Hendricks, who pitched 7.1 innings of 2-hit ball in Game 6 of the NLCS to clinch the pennant for the Cubs. During the regular season, Hendricks was 16-8 with a 2.13 ERA. SP Jon Lester also had a big season for the Cubs, going 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA. After a strong start to the season, SP Jake Arrieta was inconsistent in the second half en route to a 18-8 record and 3.10 ERA. If a fourth starter is needed in the series, the task would likely fall to veteran SP John Lackey, who is a two-time World Series champion, having won it with the 2002 Angels and 2013 Red Sox. Injuries have had an affect on the Indians’ rotation, with SPs Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar missing significant chunks of the season; Carrasco is out for the season, but Salazar has recently started throwing and could be added to the World Series roster. Leading the Tribe’s rotation is SP Corey Kluber, who led the team during the season with a 18-9 record to go with his 3.14 ERA. Behind him in the rotation are SP Josh Tomlin, who was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA this season, and SP Trevor Bauer, who is confident he’ll be able to pitch in the World Series despite a well-publicized finger laceration caused by a recent drone accident. If Bauer can’t go, P Ryan Merritt may get his second start of the postseason; he went 4.1 scoreless innings in the Game 5 clincher.

While the Cubs have the better rotation, the bullpen advantage goes the other way, with the Indians. RP Andrew Miller, who was acquired from the Yankees in a midseason trade, was an X-factor in the ALCS and could be the same against the Cubs. He can come in in the middle of the game if needed or pitch later in the game to get the ball to closer Cody Allen with the lead intact. In six appearances in the postseason, Miller has struck out 21 batters in 11.2 innings while earning a win and a save and not allowing an earned run. Allen is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities this postseason. Like the Indians, the Cubs acquired a top-level reliever from the Yankees before the trade deadline, RP Aroldis Chapman, who saved 18 games for the Cubs during the regular season after the trade. His numbers in the postseason haven’t been great, however. Chapman has gone 8 innings, with 10 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA. He is 1-0 and a has 3 saves in 5 opportunities. That’s not the way you want your closer to be pitching heading into the World Series.

Offense is another part of the game in which the Cubs have the edge.  OF Javier Baez has been leading the charge at the plate for the Cubs, with 13 hits in 38 at-bats, with 4 doubles, 1 home run and 2 steals. 3B Kris Bryant is right up there with Baez; he’s 13-for-39 with 5 doubles and 1 home run. 1B Anthony Rizzo and SS Addison Russell have underperformed in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Each of them is currently hitting under .200 so if they can get back to the offensive production the Cubs have come to expect from them, that would give the Cubs more of an offensive boost. For the Indians, SS Francisco Lindor is the sole regular hitting over .300; he has 10 hits in 31 at-bats, with 2 doubles and 2 home runs. Other key hitters, like 2B Jason Kipnis and 1B Mike Napoli have sub-.200 batting averages in the postseason. If they can’t get out of their slumps early in the series, don’t expect them to have much success against the Cubs’ stellar starting pitchers.

Neither team is lacking in the managerial department, with Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Indians skipper Terry Francona both considered among the best in the majors.

My preseason prediction for the World Series was the Blue Jays over the Cubs. Toronto fell just shy of making it, but the Cubs are in it. With the way the Cubs played all season and the strong starting pitching they’ve gotten in the postseason, I’m going to pick them to win their first World series title in 108 years. I think the series will go six games, which would mean the series would finish in Cleveland and the Cubs wouldn’t be able to celebrate the title at Wrigley.

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MLB Postseason Preview: Predictions

Now that the Wild Card games are over and the division series are set, time to predict what’s going to happen in the playoffs.

American League
Division Series
Red Sox beat Indians in 4 games
Blue Jays beat Rangers in 5 games

Championship Series
Blue Jays beat Red Sox in 6 games

National League
Division Series
Nationals beat Dodgers in 5 games
Cubs beat Giants in 5 games

Championship Series
Cubs beat Nationals in 6 games

World Series

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beat

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in 7 games.

I’m 2-0 after the Wild Card games, let’s see how I do in the rest of the playoffs.

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World Series preview: New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals

After 2,430 games in the MLB regular season and 31 postseason games through the ALCS and NLCS, the World Series is upon us. The Royals are in the Fall Classic for the second consecutive season, while the Mets have reached the Series for the first time since the Subway Series of 2000. Given their success last season, it’s not totally unexpected that the Royals are here. The Mets, however, weren’t expected to make it this far, particularly after being just three games over .500 at the end of July. The trade-deadline acquisition of OF Yoenis Cespedes, however, helped catapult the Mets to a 37-22 record from August 1 to the end of the regular season. The Royals also made some trades at the deadline — the biggest was trading for SP Johnny Cueto — but they haven’t had as big of an impact as the Cespedes deal.

The Mets are the hotter of the two teams entering the World Series, having swept the Cubs in four games in the NLCS, but the sweep — which ended on Wednesday — also means that they have a lot of downtime before getting underway in Game 1 six days after winning the NL pennant. The Royals, meanwhile, needed six games to beat the Blue Jays in the ALCS, which ended on Friday.

The Royals have home-field advantage, thanks to the American League’s victory in July’s All-Star Game. That means Games 1 and 2 will be in Kansas City, Mo., as will Games 6 and 7, if necessary. Games 3, 4 and (if necessary) 5 are scheduled for Citi Field in Queens, N.Y. Assuming there are no rainouts, the schedule sees the first two games being played this Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a travel day on Thursday before picking up again for the Mets’ home games on Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday. If the series extends to six or seven games, those are set to be played next Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 3 and 4, respectively. First pitch for all games, except Game 5 on Sunday, are scheduled for 8:07pm Eastern; first pitch Sunday is at 8:15pm Eastern.

The Mets have a distinct advantage in the starting rotation, with pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndegaard — who are slated to start the first three games — among the best in the NL this season; deGrom and Harvey ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in the league in ERA during the regular season. Steven Matz, who had a decent 3.24 ERA in 24 starts this year, is scheduled to take the mound for Game 4. Inconsistency is the common thread among the Royals’ rotation, which features Edinson Volquez starting Game 1 on Tuesday, followed by Cueto in Game 2 on Wednesday. Yordano Ventura, who was sent down to the minors for a short time during the season, gets the Game 3 start on Friday. Saturday’s Game 4 will see Chris Young, who pitched out of the bullpen for much of the season, get the start.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Royals have the advantage there. The team’s relievers had the second-best ERA in the majors during the regular season, at 2.72. RP Wade Davis — who allowed just 7 earned runs in 67.1 innings during the regular season — took over as the team’s closer late in the season after Greg Holland suffered a season-ending injury. On the Mets side, RP Jeurys Familia notched 43 saves in his first full season in the closer’s role while posting a 1.85 ERA. While the Mets should feel confident if they can get the game in Familia’s hands with a lead, the rest of the bullpen has some question marks in it as it bridges the gap between the starters and closer.

There isn’t as clear of an advantage for either team offensively, although the Mets’ bats came alive in the second half of the season after acquiring Cespedes at the deadline. The Mets — and 2B Daniel Murphy, in particular, who has hit a home run in a MLB-record six-straight postseason games — were swinging hot bats during the NLCS against the Cubs, but with nearly a week off before the start of the World Series, they may lose some of that momentum they had in the previous series.

Overall, I think the Mets are the better team right now, and I think they’ll win in six games, bringing the World Series trophy back to Queens for the first time since 1986. And I’ll say deGrom is named the series MVP.

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Play ball: 2015 MLB postseason predictions — take two

Now that my predictions are pretty much busted, with half of my LCS field — including my World Series champs — out I’ll give my picks among the final four teams remaining.

American League Championship Series
Blue Jays beat Royals in 5 games
I don’t think the Royals’ pitching is good enough to hold down the Blue Jays’ offense.

National League Championship Series
Cubs beat Mets in 6 games
The Mets’ pitching may be better, but I think the Cubs’ offense is better and the Cubs have a better overall team.

World Series

blue jays

beat

cubs

in 7 games
Again, it comes down to the Blue Jays’ offense. This should be a competitive series, but I think Toronto’s hitting is too much for the Cubs’ pitchers.

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Play ball: 2015 MLB postseason predictions

Now that the Wild Card games are over and the division series are set, time to predict what’s going to happen in the playoffs.

American League
Division Series
Astros beat Royals in 4 games
Blue Jays beat Rangers in 4 games

Championship Series
Blue Jays beat Astros in 6 games

National League
Division Series
Cubs beat Cardinals in 5 games
Dodgers beat Mets in 4 games

Championship Series
Dodgers beat Cubs in 7 games

World Series

beat

in 5 games

30in30ish finale: MLB playoff and World Series predictions

After previewing all 30 MLB teams over the last month, it’s time to make some playoff predictions. The following are my picks for who will win the divisions and wild cards, as well as the LCS and World Series matchups and winners. Hopefully I do as well picking the World Series winner as I did with the Super Bowl in September.

American League East: Baltimore Orioles
American League Central: Cleveland Indians
American League West: Seattle Mariners
American League Wild Cards: Toronto Blue JaysKansas City Royals

National League East: Washington Nationals
National League Central: St. Louis Cardinals
National League West: Los Angeles Dodgers
National League Wild Cards: Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins
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American League Championship Series:
Baltimore Orioles beat Seattle Mariners in 6 games
National League Championship Series:
Los Angeles Dodgers beat Washington Nationals in 7 games
World Series:
Los Angeles Dodgers beat Baltimore Orioles in 5 games
World Series Champions