Game one: Cubs at Indians, Monday, October 24, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game two: Cubs at Indians, Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game three: Indians at Cubs, Thursday, October 27, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game four: Indians at Cubs, Friday, October 28, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game five (if required): Indians at Cubs, Saturday, October 29, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game six (if required): Cubs at Indians, Monday, October 31, 2016, 8.08pm EST
Game seven (if required): Cubs at Indians, Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 8.08pm EST
WHAT a story it is for this year’s baseball World Series.
A year removed from falling at the final hurdle of making the big dance, the Chicago Cubs are finally in – 71 years after they last made it.
Back to the Future theories or not, the Cubs are a deserved -190 favourite with dedicated online bookmaker Bovada.lv to take out baseball’s greatest prize, with their opponents, the Cleveland Indians, at +170.
The Cubs have been the best team in baseball this year and opened the season as +500 favourites to take their game to the next level and win the World Series.
Only once did they fall out of the top line of betting for the title – after they lost game three in the National League Championship Series to go down 2-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They fought back with a vengeance, though, absolutely pummelling them in three straight games, 10-2 in game four, 8-4 in game five and shitting them out five to nothing in game six.
This is a serious team with serious title ambitions.
“This city deserves it so much,” one of the Cubs’ many stars, Anthony Rizzo said.
“We got four more big ones to go … We’re going to the World Series.
I can’t even believe that.”
The Cubs were the best team in baseball this season, rolling to a remarkable 103 wins and then knocking over the San Francisco Giants, before their come back series win over the Dodgers.
The caveat here is that the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. That’s nearly 110 years. Bloke’s named Three Finger Brown and Orval Overall were running around back then.
That is a long time in any one’s speak.
And it is plenty of history to go up against as well.
For so long the whipping boy of the Major leagues, this has been a momentous season from the little team that could.
And they are not buying any of this “Curse of the Billy Goat” or “Bartman”.
“We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” star slugger Kris Bryant said.
“We don’t look into it.
“This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives.
“We’re enjoying it and our work’s just getting started.”
There is going to be at least one drought broken in this World Series, with the Indians looking to emulate their NBA brethren Cleveland Cavaliers and snap a barren streak that dates back to 1948.
And they won’t just be battling history.
They will be battling the PC police, who are planning widespread protests throughout the World Series at the connotation behind Cleveland’s controversial nickname – the Indians.
This is going to be a fun battle, with both teams set to have their ace pitchers available for the series opener on Wednesday.
Jon Lester was the co-MVP of the NLCS with rising star Javier Baez and he is a formidable force at the plate.
And while he is the star of the Cubs’ show, Corey Kluber is no slouch for the Indians.
And he tackles the Cubs on a six day break after Cleveland made light work of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series.
The rested Indians won that in just five games, but they won’t find it so easy against the Cubs.
World Series Most Valuable Player predictions
Rizzo, as we mentioned, is the Cubs’ hero. He’s been at Wrigley Field longer than any other player on the roster and, at 27, is just hitting the peak of his powers. A dynamic first baseman, Rizzo makes clutch play after clutch play in the field, and we don’t need to tell you about his clutch hitting prowess.
The ALCS MVP has been a post season monster. His ridiculous record against the pristine line ups of the Boston Red Sox and Blue Jays holds him in high regard to complete a third straight power packed performance. The numbers speak for themselves. The relief pitcher has fired them down in just under 12 innings – and come away with a ridiculous 21 strike outs. That is simply unplayable. While the Cubs to possess some beasts at the plate, Miller has the chops to go with the best and they simply will not want to be facing off against him with the game on the line.
Series winner: Cleveland Indians to win (+170 with Bovada.lv)
Correct series score: Cleveland Indians to win 4-3 (+550 with Bovada.lv)
Given the way the Indians battle their way back into games, there is some feeling that the Cubs need to get away to fast starts in individual games in order to win this series. Fortunately, the Cubs possess an offensive armoury that is the envy of the Major leagues. But, they often say a champion team beats a team of champions and, while there is some serious camaraderie in the Cubs’ camp, you just feel like the underdog is a massive chance here. Just like the Cavs in the NBA finals last season, they are the outsiders against the might of the best team in the sport (Golden State Warriors). And the never say die attitude out of the Indians’ will hold them in good stead. The Cubs had their problems against the Dodgers before they corrected things (and Clayton Kershaw wet the bed), and we reckon the Indians won’t make the same mistakes as the Dodgers. Be prepared. This series is going to seven games, people. The Cubs are the hot favourites on the betting sheet, but, in the real world, this one feels like any one’s series. In any event, the winner will be the casual fan – and baseball – with both side’s possessing feel-good stories.