Chicago Cubs: Cy Young candidates going at it in decisive Game 7

The Chicago Cubs kept themselves alive in the World Series after winning Game 5 and 6. Last night, they received another solid outing from their reigning Cy Young winner. Now it’s all up to another candidate to take the mound.

When you think of heavyweight showdowns, names such as Muhammid Ali vs Joe Frazier come to mind. For the Chicago Cubs, it’ll be Kyle Hendricks squaring off against Corey Kluber in a Game 7.

The final baseball game of the 2016 campaign.

It has been a dogfight for the Chicago Cubs who have had to battle against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. They finished off the Dodgers got them where they are now but found themselves down 3-1 to Cleveland.

In Game 3, Kyle Hendricks took the mound opposite Josh Tomlin. The Cubs were riding a wave of momentum after splitting the series in Cleveland, turning to the man who defeated Clayton Kershaw.

Now it’s time for Hendricks to step into the spotlight, this time with the World Series hanging in the balance. Hendricks, 26-years-old, ended the regular season with an impressive 16-8 record, holding the lowest earned run average in the National League.

Which just so happens to be 2.13 with Kershaw spending a few months on the disabled list following a back injury. Still, he’s still considered to be one of the best young pitchers in the entire league.

Clinching The Pennant

As mentioned before, or as most of you are aware, Hendricks was the winning pitcher in the final showdown between the Cubs and Dodgers. Taking on Kershaw was a challenge, but Kyle cruised through the L.A. lineup.

In 7 1/3 innings of work, Joe Maddon‘s young right-hander yielded only two hits and struck out six. This led him to his first career World Series appearance against the ever-dangerous, Cleveland Indians.

Cleveland got the better of him, tagging him for six hits despite not being able to score a run off him in Game 3. Maddon removed him after 4 1/3 and knew his starter was having trouble on the mound.

Chicago put themselves in a great spot by having Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta pick up two wins, evening the series. Now, will Hendricks show the world why he emerged as the best pitcher in the National League? Or will it be too much for the young pitcher to handle?

One thing is for certain, it’s not going to be easy. Starting opposite Hendricks will be ace right-hander, Corey Kluber. Kluber has been a workhorse for Terry Francona‘s three-man rotation, entering Wednesday with two wins over the Cubs.

Not to mention, Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) carries a postseason record of 4-1 with a lights-out ERA of 0.89 in five starts. In both starts against the Cubs, he has struck out a combined 15 hitters while surrendering only one earned run on nine hits.

Both starts had him going six innings, turning things over to Andrew Miller, Bryant Shaw, and Cody Allen. Three men who have been huge for Francona in the postseason as Miller earned LCS MVP honors after handling the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, it’ll be yet another starter coming on three-days rest for the second time in this World Series.

First, it was Kershaw, will Hendricks outduel Kluber? Again, it’s going to be a tough task, especially for someone so young. But Joe Maddon has some starters who will be ready to throw if it’s too much for him to handle.

Guys like Jon Lester, John Lackey, and possibly Aroldis Chapman could make an appearance tomorrow night. This is definitely going to be a manager showdown. In the end, only one will come out on top.

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