The Chicago Cubs are a team that have a potent offense with several gold glove candidates on defense, three starting pitchers who will receive Cy Young Award votes, and a mean bullpen machine. With all of those assets clicking, no team can stop them. We’ve seen that in the NLDS and NLCS with the Giants and Dodgers. The Cubs are a resilient team. The Cubs added Kyle Schwarber to the World Series roster, a piece to this history run that the Cubs are trying to complete.
Scoring early. The Cubs have a 6-0 record for scoring the first run during games. The Cubs also have to score runs early against the Cleveland Indians to put them on a pedestal and not have to use Andrew Miller. The Cubs have to beat up on the Indians’ starting pitching to keep their bullpen working and get them fatigued for this long series.
The Cubs have to win the first 5 innings of the ball game. If the Cubs are down by more than two runs after the 5th inning, it will be hard to put on some of their late inning rallies because of Andrew Miller’s 0.00 ERA in the postseason and with Cody Allen’s 0.00 ERA. The Indians are known for closing out teams early because of how good the bullpen has been.
Patience against Andrew Miller. I’ve been watching Andrew Miller and analyzing his game over the past two days and I’ve also been watching the Indians in the postseason. Miller has thrown 74 sliders so far in the postseason, good for 61.7% of his total postseason throws, however, he has a lot of batters chasing on the ground and swinging at pitches out of the zone. The Cubs have to be patient and not chase the sliders. Miller rarely throws strikes in the strike zone.
The Cubs starting pitchers need to keep pitching the same way they’ve been pitching. Jon Lester is pitching himself into history talks with a record of 2-0 and ERA under 1. Kyle Hendricks just pitched the game of his lifetime, holding the Dodgers to two hits with 7 scoreless innings, winning Game 6 of NLCS. John Lackey was back to his old self in his last start.
Jake Arrieta: The only pitcher who hasn’t been himself lately with a 7.20 ERA in the postseason. Arrieta had one good moment and that came from his offense in the first round hitting a homer off Madison Bumgarner. Arrieta pitching Game 2 could be a key to this series for the Cubs. If Arrieta can get back to his old self the 1-2 punch of Lester and Arrieta will give the Indians a nightmare with Hendricks waiting for them at Wrigley. Arrieta hasn’t faced the Indians since last year and he pitched a gem. The Indians haven’t seen a lot of Arrieta so this will be a plus side for the Cubs. Getting his command right will be just in time to forget about his performance in the 1st and 2nd round.
Jason Heyward, it’s your time to earn that $182 Million dollars against these righties. Heyward needs to start producing now and it’s a perfect way to forget his season with a great World Series. The Indians will start righties for the first three games. Heyward needs to get his line drive rate up and start hitting those line drive hits for doubles and triples. If Heyward can get his bat going with Schwarber on board this lineup will be lethal and we could get a look at the 2017-2018 season already. Pitchers will not be able to pitch around this lineup with Heyward’s bat being significant for the Cubs. Heyward will be the MVP of this series.