The Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series.
The Indians, who haven’t won a World Series since 1948 sent their ace Corey Kluber to the mound against Jon Lester, the No. 2 hurler for the Chicago Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series title since 1908. The last time the Indians played in the World Series was 1997 and they lost in seven games to the Florida Marlins.
This time they are primed to come out on the winning end.
Everybody and their mama picked Chicago to win the World Series in April. Nobody picked the Indians. Winning playoff games takes timely hitting, shutdown pitching, shrewd tactical maneuvers and career performances from players who are unheralded. A certain number of your superstars are going to struggle, that’s just how the playoff formula goes in baseball.
(Photo Credit: foxsports.com)
It’s unpredictable and twists of fate, circumstance and fortune are eminent.
On Tuesday night, the game-changing hero was a backup catcher named Roberto Perez, who added the insurance with a solo home run in the fourth inning and a three-run shot in the eighth.
Perez, who is filling in for injured starter Yan Gomes, had a Reggie Jackson-like evening and helped set the tone and give Cleveland a leg up in what should be a lengthy seven game series.
"I don't think I've ever had a night like that," Perez said after the game.
And that’s MLB playoff baseball in a nutshell.
Kluber struck out nine batters over six innings and moved Cleveland coach Terry Francona, who helped the Red Sox break an 86-year World Series drought in 2004, three games closer to officially being named “The Curse Breaker.”
With Tuesday’s Game 1 win, Francona advances to 9-0 in his managerial career in World Series games. As a manager, he is a true closer and an all-time great with the chips on the table.
Francona has outcoached the quirky Joe Maddon throughout these playoffs. While the Cubs are clearly the more talented team, with an array of former and current All-Stars on their roster, Cleveland has displayed the grit, speed, strategical poise and killer instinct that last year’s champion Kansas City possessed.
(Photo Sports: sports.yahoo.com)
Both of these franchises, so close in geographical proximity and aligned as members of baseball’s bad breaks club for so many decades, finally have MLB's October spotlight on them.
The city of Cleveland is already riding an NBA high as it is officially King James season, and anything else is just a side note in the ever-revolving sports landscape.The success of the Indians has been swept into this NBA euphoria that has infested Cleveland and rebirthed the rooting mojo of a dedicated fan base.
Both squads deserve to taste the swirling sensation of victory in the Fall Classic wind, but only one can finish as World Series champs. This series is far from over and as we saw in the NLCS, the Cubs have the firepower to comeback from a series deficit.