Assessing the Matchup
It has been clear all postseason long that Cleveland has a much smaller margin for error with its pitching staff due to injuries than would normally be the case.
The Indians have shown again and again that they are up to that challenge, and have put in some of the most impressive performances on the mound of any team in October.
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Chicago had the top pitching staff in the big leagues during the regular season, and while that group has taken a few lumps in the playoffs, they constitute a formidable obstacle for the Tribe to surmount.
The starters don’t allow many baserunners, period, and if Cleveland is unable to score early, one of the toughest bullpens in the game is lurking.
What will be the most fun to watch, at least to this author, is how two master tacticians like Francona and Maddon orchestrate their staffs.
Both have proven adept and creative in their usage throughout the season, and with both sides performing so effectively, runs could be at a serious premium.
This is the World Series, so one would expect that nothing will be left in the tank for either the Cubs or the Indians. No situation will be overlooked, no contingency will be not planned for, and no pitcher with fire in his arm will be left unused.
We have two teams in this World Series who are playing to end prodigious championship droughts, and it’s only fitting they would appear so evenly matched on the mound.
Cleveland’s and Chicago’s hitters will more than have their work cut out for them, which should make for some seriously high drama. The Tribe has been counted out throughout the playoffs and responded. The question will now be whether they can do it one more time against this collection of Cubs pitchers.