Playoff Miscellany: The Indians Are Going To The World Series, The Cubs Are Two Away

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Playoff Miscellany: The Indians Are Going To The World Series, The Cubs Are Two Away

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

Did you watch closely?

You know, that moment isn’t too far off for the Cubs (and you). Two more wins and years of envy washes away with one plane ride to Cleveland. Sure, the Cubs would still have to beat the Indians to do what they really need to do, but getting there – finally reaching the World Series – is going to be a moment unlike anything you’ve experienced in sports.

So watch closely, get hungry, and keep being a fan. Your moment will come.

  • Obviously, that video means that the Cleveland Indians have indeed beaten the Toronto Blue Jays, won the AL Pennant, and are headed to the World Series for the first time since 1997 (must be nice). The Blue Jays managed to squeak out a win in game four, but couldn’t survive a second night, falling to the Indians by a final score of 3-0.
  • On the Indians side, Francisco Lindor did the majority of the damage, going 3-4 with a run scored, but each of Coco Crisp and Carlos Santana added solo home runs. In the end, the Blue Jays staff didn’t pitch all too poorly (9.0 IP, 6H, 3R, 0BB, 7Ks), but their (usually) potent offense was held to just six hits over nine innings with just one going for extra bases (a double from Jose Bautista) – boy does that sound terrifyingly familiar.
  • The Indians got 4.1 scoreless innings from rookie starter Ryan Merritt, and, of course, another 2.2 scoreless innings from ALCS MVP Andrew Miller.
  • Anyway, if the Cubs are somehow able to advance beyond Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, the Indians will be your new bad guys.
  • Speaking of the Cubs, they won a pretty big game yesterday, and it all started with a bunt (or so Brett quipped). A fourth inning bunt from Ben Zobrist (well, that and a truly abhorrent throw from Andrew Toles in left field) kickstarted the Cubs’ offense into a four-run fourth inning on Wednesday night, capped off by a big home run from Addison Russell. Russell finished the evening 3-5 with a homer, but his two outs were both deep shots to the warning track (he hit the first one 351 feet and the second one 368 feet). So, in other words, he pretty much had five good at-bats, only three of which resulted in hits.
  • His homer, by the way, came off the bat at 102 MPH and 29 degrees for a total distance of 392 feet.
  • On the pitching side, John Lackey did well, but wasn’t super thrilled to be taken out of the game after back-to-back walks to open up the fifth. That said … I have to agree with Joe Maddon on this one, but perhaps for different reasons than you think). Although Lackey had clearly fumbled with his command, he’s the type of pitcher who I could envision adjusting enough to pitch out of such a jam – he just is. HOWEVA, when you have two left-handed, long guys like Travis Wood and Mike Montgomery available to face the lefty-heavy Dodgers lineup, there’s no reason to see what Lackey can do.
  • And, as a matter of fact, after striking out Corey Seager, Montgomery almost got out of it unscathed with a seemingly tailor made double play ball … but it happened to deflect off his glove and into left field.

[Brett: CHECK!]

  • It was pretty clearly not Montgomery’s fault, and now that it didn’t matter, we can all remember it that way a little easier. Two runs/two groundouts later, and the inning was over.
  • When the dust settled, the Cubs plated 10 glorious, wonderful, magnificent, thesaurus, splendid, majestic, spectacular runs on 13 hits and 3 walks. They did strike out 8 times and leave 14 runners on base, but when your eighth hitter is getting five plate appearances in a game, you’re going to rack up high totals across the board.
  • With that victory, the series is tied 2-2 as the Cubs face one more game in Los Angeles (Kenta Maeda v. Jon Lester II), before returning to Wrigley Field. We’ll get into the remaining odds and much more later today. Also, you’ll recall that I took a deeper dive into Maeda’s season just before Game 1. It’s all still relevant.
  • Lastly, because Game 6 has now been guaranteed, the probables for that night are Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Hendricks. Game 7, should it be required, would feature Jake Arrieta and (almost certainly, but not definitely) Rich Hill. The Cubs, then, have their work cut out for them as each of Hill and Kershaw gave them fits (as they do many teams). Hopefully, they can squeak out a win tonight and give themselves the extra advantage heading home.

I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m hungry, I’m scared, and I am dying to see how important the number “2016” will forever be in our minds.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.