Here is the state of things in the Taylor household this morning: The Wife just caught me whistling “Go Cubs Go” in the restroom, and startled me by joking that she wishes she could record the audio. We’re enjoying this week.
- You will be inundated by preview-type stuff in the coming days, so we’ll try not to overwhelm you with too much (it is, after all, like any other seven-game series: you can analyze and evaluate strengths and weaknesses, but the series is short enough that much of it might not actually matter). I do think this breakdown position by position from Mike Petriello is worth a look, though. It is interesting – and I think fair – that the only positional edge given to the Indians (outside of DH, which is up in the air pending Kyle Schwarber’s possible return) is in the middle infield. I know what you’re thinking: “But Javy! And Addison!” And you’re quite right that, especially from a defensive perspective, those two are as good as a pairing gets in all of baseball in my (and many others’) opinion. But when you factor in that Francisco Lindor is at least as good defensively as Russell, while right now being much better with the bat, and consider that Jason Kipnis is probably a good bet better with the bat than Baez is right now*, I think it’s fair to give the Indians the edge.
- *(Of course, Baez’s playoff numbers so far in a small sample are dramatically better than his regular season, but I’m not sure you can necessarily set that as the baseline for a comparison. In support of that notion, just one 0-for night in Game 6 of the NLCS dropped Baez’s postseason line from .368/.381/.579 to .342/.366/.526 – a 68 point drop in OPS. Baez has been fantastic this postseason, no question. A slight projected edge to Kipnis in this series, however, is reasonable. (Assuming Kipnis is 100% – he hurt his ankle a little bit in the post-ALCS win celebration.))
- The Indians get a slight edge in the bullpen entirely thanks to Andrew Miller, with which I don’t think anyone can argue, given his singular importance in his postseason. He has, for about two innings per game, been essentially invulnerable. You kinda just have to count on the fact that, after the starter departs the game, you’re not going to score for a couple innings. The Cubs’ rotation, however, has a very big edge in this series.
- A little fun: the two managers in the World Series were the two finalists for the Boston Red Sox’s managerial job in 2003, when Theo Epstein took over as GM there. As you know, Epstein ultimately went with Terry Francona, now the manager of the Indians, and that worked out pretty well. Joe Maddon, then the Angels’ bench coach, went on to manage the Rays, and, of course, joined the Cubs before the 2015 season. Not that managers drive the entirety of the success for an organization, and not that being in the World Series necessarily reflects the very best true-talent teams in baseball, but … it’s pretty clear Epstein knows how to pick ’em.
- The umpiring crew for the World Series has been announced.
- We should find out today or, at the very latest, early tomorrow whether Kyle Schwarber will surprisingly make the World Series roster. If so, he won’t be playing in the field at this point, and he also might not be able to run the bases at full go (i.e., possibly no sliding or extreme first-to-third type things). The guess here is that if Schwarber is added to the roster, the Cubs would go back down to 11 pitchers, perhaps leaving off lefty Rob Zastryzny, who was added as extra depth for the NLCS against the lefty-heavy Dodgers.
- The Indians have their own comeback possibility in pitcher Danny Salazar, who could be added to the roster after rehabbing forearm tightness that popped up in early September. Not quite as dramatic as the possible Schwarber return, but no less impactful.
- I find stuff like this fascinating (probably in no small part because we are constantly making sure we don’t step on any Cubs trademark toes around here) – Crain’s writes up the balance many businesses are trying to strike between supporting the Cubs and jumping on the current wave of popularity, but without infringing on the rights of official partners who’ve paid the Cubs a whole lot of money to be the official Cubs this or that.
- Yes, baby. That looks so freaking good:
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) October 24, 2016
- Rizzo in the foreground, Kershaw reacting … this is good:
— MBDChicago (@MBDChicago) October 24, 2016
- If you’re still looking for Halloween goods, or just want to see adults looking extremely strange in costumes (seriously: the blades the Deadpool guy is holding just look … off), you can check out Amazon’s Halloween section.