Chicago at Cleveland World Series Game 1 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 8 PM
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland
Probable pitchers (away/home): Jon Lester/ Corey Kluber
Opening MLB Lines: Cubs -190, Indians +180 (TBA)
Why Bet on Chicago?The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, when they beat the Tigers in five games in a rematch from the previous season. Theo Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations and Terry Francona, the Indians manager, were together in Boston to win World Series titles in 2004 and ’07 — ending an 86-year championship gap with the first crown. Epstein built MLB's best team in the regular season, one that ended a Cubs pennant drought that dated to 1945 by beating the Dodgers in six games in the NLCS.
The Cubs go with lefty Jon Lester, who was named the co-MVP of the NLCS. Lester, one of baseball’s most accomplished playoff performers, went 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles. He has allowed just two runs in 21 innings in three postseason games this year. He’s looking to improve to 4-0 in four World Series starts after helping Boston win it all in 2007 and 2013. Lester is likely to finish second in this year’s NL Cy Young voting. During the regular season, he went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA (55 ER/202.IP), the second-best mark in baseball. Lester recorded a quality start in all 15 of his home appearances, setting the franchise record (since at least 1913) for the most home starts in a single season without throwing a non-quality start.
In a stunner, the Cubs could get back young slugger Kyle Schwarber for the World Series. After his first game in more than 6½ months, Schwarber said he is in play for the Cubs’ World Series roster, although he didn’t travel with the team to Cleveland on Sunday night. Schwarber had the day off after playing in an Arizona Fall League game Saturday. World Series rosters must be set Tuesday morning. Schwarber tore up his knee in the first week of the season and wasn’t expected to recover until spring training 2017. He’s still not 100 percent but could DH in the games in Cleveland. Schwarber, who was -medically cleared last Monday to hit and run the bases, is an ideal addition against an opponent with one potential left-handed starting pitcher, rookie Ryan Merritt, and one lefty reliever, Andrew Miller. He set a Cubs record last postseason with five homers.
Why Bet on Cleveland?The Indians last won the World Series in 1948, defeating the Braves in six games. The drought between the two opponents is the most pronounced in World Series history. Previously, Astros-White Sox in 2005 (130 years combined) held the distinction.
Cleveland upset the Toronto Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS to win its first pennant since 1997. Given that the Indians have won seven of eight games against Boston and Toronto in the first two rounds of the playoffs, you might be thinking the Tribe were dominant. But the game scores suggest otherwise: The Indians beat the Red Sox 5-4, 6-0 and 4-3 in the division series and recorded their four wins over Toronto by scores of 2-0, 2-1, 4-2 and 3-0.
Some bad news for the Tribe, who clinched last Wednesday: nine of the 10 teams that clinched their pennant first went on to lose the World Series. The only exception: The Philadelphia Phillies, who returned from an extended layoff to beat Tampa Bay in five games in 2008. That Rays team was managed by current Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
The Tribe start 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, who probably finishes second in the AL Cy Young voting in this game. Kluber has gone 2-1 with an 0.98 ERA during the postseason, including two shutout wins. victory. In Game 4 against the Blue Jays, Kluber saw a personal 15.1-inning postseason scoreless streak come to an end following a two-out solo HR by Josh Donaldson in the 3rd inning, which now stands as the 2nd-longest scoreless streak in Cleveland postseason history.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, one of the team’s most important players, suffered an ankle sprain during Cleveland’s celebration of the ALCS title. Kipnis rolled his ankle stepping on shortstop Francisco Lindor’s foot. But Kipnis practiced fielding groundballs on his own before the Indians’ workout Sunday, and Francona said he expects he will be fine for Game 1.