The St. Louis Cardinals have the same chance today of winning the 2016 World Series as they had yesterday. The Cub and Indians, however, are battling for the title and take the series back to Cleveland.
I am sad that our St. Louis Cardinals are not playing in the World Series. Let me add, though, that this year’s Cardinals team just didn’t match-up against the likes of the Chicago Cubs who had run away with the NL-Central and I doubt they would have been able to take on the powerhouse of the Cleveland Indians who ran way with the AL-Central.
This past weekend stood as a perfect example of the challenge of being a baseball fan in October: three paramount games in the baseball season in opposition with college football and the NFL. Friday held an easy answer: watch the World Series. Saturday allowed baseball fans time to watch college football then the game. Sunday was the same.
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Speaking of Sunday, the Chicago Cubs pulled a victory when faced with season elimination. Let’s review game five. The Indians sent Trevor Bauer to the mound for his fourth game this postseason. Bauer hadn’t fared well in his previous outings and had battled the bloody finger early in the postseason.
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Sunday was not a great night for Bauer yet again. Here’s a look at Bauer’s postseason stats:
5.87 ERA in his two World Series games just won’t cut it and didn’t cut it on Sunday. The likelihood of Bauer pitching again in this World Series is extremely unlikely so Indians fans should take comfort in that. St. Louis Cardinals fans can commiserate with your pain and can easily relate Bauer to Jaime Garcia who coughed in postseason for us.
On the Cubs side of things, the baby bears were determined to not watch the Indians celebrate in Wrigley. Kris Bryant showed this resistance by hitting a fourth inning home run to tie the game at one after the Indians had taken an early lead on a Jose Ramirez homer off of Jon Lester. The fourth inning was important for the Cubs as they picked up two additional runs that inning on scrappy singles and one double by Anthony Rizzo.
I love great catching which is why I love Yadier Molina. That said, we should all take a moment to marvel at Wilson Contrares’ catching and framing abilities in the seventh and the eighth innings. This work was right out of the Molina playbook and helped secure strike calls for pitches that were not strikes. This was great catching.
Scrappy was indeed the word as the Cubs pen scrapped and clawed and prevented runs despite inheriting runners. Plays like Jayson Heyward’s wall grab and the bounce-around foul-out to Rizzo and David Ross made the web gems of this game. All-in-all, the Cubs were able to hold the Indians flood enough to take game five by a score of 3-2.
The Series returns now to Cleveland for game six. Our own Rodger Wheeler predicted that the Indians would win the series in six games. I wonder if he has money riding on Tuesday’s game…
As the series moves back to Cleveland, the Indians will send Josh Tomlin to the mound. These are his postseason stats:
Can he capture magic and close the series with an Indians win? Can Tomlin hold the Cubs to just two hits again? Will Terry Francona put all hands on deck in game six or wait for a winner-take-all game seven? We must wait until Tuesday for these answers.
On the Cubs side of things, Jake Arrieta will toe the mound. This Cy Young pitcher of old hasn’t fared so well this postseason but was masterful in his last start. These are his postseason stats:
Was Arrieta’s last start an outlier or can he repeat this performance? If Tomlin and Arrieta each hold to their last outing against these teams, then look for Tuesday to be a pitchers duel with few hits. If you are a baseball fan, don’t miss this game!
My prediction is that the Indians will indeed close the door on Tuesday with a win. I agree with Rodger that the Indians will take it all in six. That said, I know that the Fox network would love a game seven. As a baseball fan, I wouldn’t mind a game seven either otherwise the winter of our discontent starts one day earlier.