By the time some of you may be reading this column late in the week the 2016 World Series will be over. Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians on ending their 68 year drought with their first World Series title since 1948.
Or is it congratulations to the Chicago Cubs on ending their 108 year drought with their first title since 1908 and winning it in championship fashion by overcoming a three games to one deficit by winning three in a row, including the final two on the road in Cleveland.
But for those of you reading this column on Tuesday when it hits the sportsbooks in Las Vegas there is still at least one game remaining to be played in the 2016 World Series.
Facing elimination on Sunday night the Cubs earned a 3-2 win over the Indians to make Cleveland’s lead three games to two heading to Cleveland for Tuesday’s Game 6 and Wednesday’s potential Game 7.
Cleveland’s outstanding pitching has been the story of this World Series and much credit has to be given to the Cleveland scouting staff for the outstanding job done in scouting the Cubs’ hitters and transmitting that information to the Tribe’s starters and relievers. Manager Terry Francona gets huge praise for the job he’s done in getting the Indians to within a game of the World Series title and that praise is totally deserved.
But I would be remiss to not give equal praise to the scouting and coaching staffs that did an excellent job in getting the pitchers prepared to tame the powerful lineups of Boston in the ALDS, Toronto in the ALCS and the Cubs thus far in the World Series.
Chicago’s Jake Arrieta is favored by -140 over Cleveland and Josh Tomlin in Tuesday’s Game 6. The Total is 7. Cleveland makes for a nicely priced underdog with the UNDER the preferred Totals play.
A loss in Game 6 would put great pressure on the Indians in Game 7 on Wednesday. Of course there would also be pressure on Chicago but the Cubs would have already shown an ability to handle the greatest type of pressure by winning both Games 5 and 6 in what were truly “must win” games.
The strategy here is to back the Indians as home underdogs in Game 6 with the UNDER but to support the Cubs in Game 7, also with the UNDER. The Game 7 matchup would likely be Cleveland’s Corey Kluber against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks.
If Cleveland wins the key to the series will have been their Game 3 victory over the Cubs in the first World Series game at Wrigley Field since 1945.
The Cubs were in the most favorable situation they would be in at any point in the series. They were at home with the likely NL Cy Young Award winner, Hendricks, facing Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin, a fly ball pitcher with the wind blowing out. Hendricks had been dominant at home all season. He pitched four and one third scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen. But Tomlin was surprisingly as effective, lasting 4 and two thirds innings and allowing just 2 hits and no runs before the Cleveland bullpen took over.
The Tribe won that game 1-0 to take a 2-1 Series lead which they increased on Saturday night to come within a win of winning the World Series with 3 chances to do so.
Barring a rainout we will know either late Tuesday night or late Wednesday night if Cleveland could take advantage of their second and possibly third chance to win it all.
If Cleveland strikes out with all three chances the Cubs will have put an end to their drought of more than a century in the most exciting and dramatic of finishes.
Andy Iskoe and his Logical Approach provide popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long-time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]