Happy Tuesday, WFNY!
What a day! First day of November, fall is in full swing but the weatherperson is saying mid 70s today in Cleveland before settling into the upper 60s for game time. It sure sounds like a perfect day for winning the World Series.
We know the stakes, we know the outlook. The Cleveland Indians have two games at home against the Chicago Cubs, the best team in baseball all year long. The Indians only have to win one of these games. Josh Tomlin gets first crack at it tonight, and if he can’t bring it home, it will fall back on Corey Kluber’s shoulders. The Cubs won three games in a row 41 times in the regular season (the Indians did it 34 times). The Indians lost three games in a row seven times in the regular season.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room without fear or paranoia. The Cubs can win this series. They are the better team, and they have Jake Arrieta going tonight and Kyle Hendricks going tomorrow. Arrieta was 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA this season. Hendricks was even better going 16-8 with a 2.13 ERA. Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist’s bats are alive, Jason Heyward is starting to look alive, Kris Bryant snapped out of his funk a bit in Game 5 hitting his first HR of the World Series, and now the Cubs get Kyle Schwarber back in their lineup. I promise you the Cubs do not think they are out of this series. They feel pretty good about themselves and while they might acknowledge they’ve dug themselves into a hole with no more room for error, considering the circumstances, I’m guessing they feel pretty decent about where they are and what they have to do.
Here’s the thing, though. The Cubs might feel pretty good about their position in this series. But the Indians have to feel better about theirs. They are home for two games and only need to win one. There’s nothing to be afraid of. The Cubs are the team who is supposed to win. Remember, the Indians weren’t even supposed to win the ALDS, let alone make it to the World Series and have a 3-1 lead. Cleveland has nothing to lose here. The Cubs are the team with all the pressure. They have the 108 year World Series drought they are trying to erase, they have the weight of expectations as the best team in baseball, they are the media darlings that everyone can’t stop from drooling all over, and they have two incredible pitchers starting these last two games. Cleveland? They’re just a bunch of idiots who got lucky and won a couple games. This is still the Cubs’ series to lose.
Of course it would be disappointing if the Indians lost this series. Sure, it would be a cruel twist or karmic fate if Cleveland now blew a 3-1 series lead in the World Series. But don’t let the media drive the narrative if that happens. This would not be another chapter in the misery montage. This would still be a team to be so freaking proud of and to always remember fondly. Don’t let a potential unfavorable outcome ruin all the good feelings, fun, and joyous experience that this postseason run has give to us. If Cleveland loses? Oh well, it’s on to basketball season where we get to root for the reigning NBA Champions and enjoy their run at a repeat. Life is good for Cleveland sports fans. It’s never been better in my lifetime. So let’s just sit back and enjoy the rest of this series.
But I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about any of that. Had the Cavaliers not just won a title, I’m sure I’d be a nervous wreck today. Ok, fine, I’m still a nervous wreck, but the stakes would feel so much higher for me. I want this World Series title so freaking bad. And now that I know Cleveland teams actually CAN win a Championship, I’m not that worried about it. I think the Indians are going to win one of these next two games. Win tonight on the back of Andrew Miller and he gets the MVP. Win tomorrow thanks to Kluber and he gets the MVP. Either way, it’s fine with me. But I think the Indians are going to win this thing and I’m not particularly scared of this moment1.
Plus, beyond all the other, reasonable, logical reasons why I think the Indians are going to win this series, there’s also this:
That has held true for three games. Three times the Cleveland Cavaliers have played so far this season, all three on the same day as a World Series game, and all three times the Cavaliers have won and so have the Indians. So we need to root like crazy for the Cavaliers to win tonight against the Houston Rockets. A Cavs win and we can all get ready to celebrate. And if the Cavaliers lose? Well, then Tomlin and/or Kluber will just have to do it the hard way and lean on their talent rather than fate.
The Cavaliers play at 6:00 tonight, the Indians start at 8:08. What a beautiful day, what incredible weather, and what a time to be alive as a Cleveland sports fan! Enjoy yourselves out there tonight, Cleveland. And be safe! Go Cavs, and more importantly, GO TRIBE!
- Although, to be fair, if the Indians lose tonight you can ask me again tomorrow. I might be scared then. [↩]