Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs (Home and Home)


Lindor Fever Hits Critical Mass as Indians Take on Cubs

And this is where I eat a big plate of crow.

One week after writing an article all about how the Indians need to stick to the process and hold off on calling up Francisco Lindor, what do the Indians do? They call up Francisco Lindor. This came a few days after I wrote an article explaining how the Indians have been doing the right thing by showing patience with Lonnie Chisenhall and why there was no reason to bail on him only to watch the Indians bail on him. I also went on a Yankees podcast last season and went on and on and on about how Corey Kluber sucked.

Why anyone allows me to continue to write about baseball is behind my comprehension. #Analysis!

So that bring us to the present state of affairs. The Indians have finally called up Francisco Lindor and the future is now. In Sunday’s rain-interrupted game in Detroit, Lindor did not start, but saw two at bats in a pinch-hitting role, racking up a four-pitch strikeout and a single that should have been a double, if not for that meddling first base bag getting in the way.

That’s a shame.

Now that Lindor is up with the big league club, expect to see him in the everyday lineup on a consistent basis. Where he hits in the lineup is still unknown, my guess would be down around eight or nine (with my track record, that means he’ll hit leadoff), but he should fit in as the everyday shortstop, barring any disasters. So get excited Cleveland fans, your savior is here. Let’s see if he lives up to the hype or just how long it takes for everyone to write him off. Fun times!

The addition of Lindor to the big league roster adds an additional wrinkle to the upcoming series with the Chicago Cubs. This is no longer a match-up between the Indians and the Cubs, but rather a match-up between two of the most exciting young players in the game right now, the aforementioned Lindor and Cubs’ slugger Kris Bryant.

For Bryant, his journey to the Cubs major league roster was a tumultuous one. Clearly the best player for the Cubs during spring training, Bryant was demoted to Triple-A in order to delay his service time and ensure themselves of one more year of control. For all of the consternation it caused, it was the right decision. Bryant is clearly everything he was advertised to be and has filled in nicely in the heart of the Cubs lineup. Bryant is off to an unreal start hitting .294/.403/.482 with 7 homer runs, 35 RBI, and 37 runs scored. If there is one complaint to have it’s that the home runs have not come with the regularity many assumed they would, but he has done everything else so well that it’s hard to complain.

Moving on from Bryant, he is not the only player worth mentioning in the Cubs lineup. Dexter Fowler is having a sensational season out of the lead-off spot, accounting for 11 stolen bases and 42 runs scored. Anthony Rizzo looks like a super-star, hitting .307/.423/.556 with 11 homers and 37 RBI. Starlin Castro appears to have broken out of his 2014 slump and continues to flash some serious leather out in the field. Even Addison Russell, called up a few weeks ago, has been solid, he hasn’t gotten off to the start that Bryant has, but his has done enough to be a solid contributor for the Cubs.

One player for the Cubs that has struggled in 2015 is Jorge Soler. For those who are not aware, this was supposed to be a breakout season for Soler. The Cuban prospect is an all-around player with tremendous power. After turning heads in his 2014 debut, Soler has struggled, hitting just .265/.322/.402. Even worse, he has only belted four homers, two of which came in one game. TO make matters worse, Soler is now on the DL with an injured ankle. The Cubs can only hope that his time on the DL and subsequent rehab assignment can get him back to doing the things they know he can.

From the pitching side of things, the Cubs have tied their hopes to a pair of arms at the top of their rotation. Jon Lester was signed in the offseason to be the ace of their staff. He’s been okay so far, 4-5 record, 3.99 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Meanwhile, Jason Hammel has been superb. He is 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Rounding out the rotation is Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks. The fifth spot is currently being held down by Tsuyoshi Wada.

The big problem for the Cubs has been their bullpen. They have had their issues this season and have failed to have someone fully establish themselves as the closer. This have been so rocky, that the Cubs have gone out and signed Rafael Soriano to bolster the pen. Soriano is most known for being a closer. It is unknown whether or not Soriano will slide into the closer’s role or if it will remain Hector Rondon‘s job to lose.

Probable Pitching Match-Ups

In Chicago:

  • Trevor Bauer (5-3, 3.53/1.24) vs. Jake Arrieta (6-4, 3.16/1.12)
  • Shaun Marcum (3-1, 4.09/1.09) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1, 4.84/1.43)

 In Cleveland: