2016 World Series Prediction
The 2016 MLB World Series begins on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians of the American League face off against the National League champion Chicago Cubs. The MLB continues to show its parity as another new team will win the World Series. The last time a team repeated as champions was in 2000 when the New York Yankees won their third title in a row. Since then, only the Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals have won multiple titles. But this year, not only will a new team win the World Series, but one of these teams will end a long championship drought.
The Cleveland Indians last World Series title came in 1948 when they beat the Boston Braves. This World Series was the first to be aired on a nationwide network on television so that goes to show just how long ago this title was. Their last appearance in the World Series when they were beat by the underdog Florida Marlins who made it to the World Series in only their fifth year of existence, an MLB record.
Since then, the Cleveland Indians have been a lot like their depiction in the movie Major League. They became lovable losers in a city that had become accustomed to losing. But then the Cavaliers won the NBA title and Cleveland was back in the spotlight. And during the MLB season, the Indians began making some noise. They finished the season 94-67 and finished first in the AL Central. They entered the postseason and defeated the Red Sox easily and then beat the Blue Jays in five games to move on to the World Series.
Now, manager Terry Francona, who won two championships in Boston, must prepare his team for a huge battle with Chicago. The Indians will need their pitchers to continue to shut down Chicago’s offense and keep the Cubs from getting out to a big lead. And the bats have to be alive from stars Gomes, Kipnis, Napoli, and Lindor. They will have to keep it close and rely heavily on their pitching and defense.
In the other dugout will be the Chicago Cubs and everybody knows their story. The storied Cubs franchise has not been to a World Series since 1945 when they lost to the Detroit Tigers. They haven’t won a World Series of course since 1908, when they beat the Tigers to win their second title in a row. And through the years since, there has been a goat, Steve Bartman, and a whole lot of heartbreak.
But in 2015, under manager Joe Madden, the young Cubs began to turn things around and fell just short of the World Series, losing to the New York Mets in the NL Championship series. They came back in 2016 and finished with a record of 103-58, the best in baseball. Then, in the postseason, they beat Madison Bumgarner and the Giants and then Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Now, Madden has to prepare his young team for the biggest challenge they will ever have.
The Cubs, like the Indians, will obviously need their pitching rotation to keep the Cleveland offense in check. It will all start for the Cubs with Arrieta, Lackey, Lester, and then Chapman to close it out. But the highlight of the Cubs is their offense and if they can get out to a big lead, they could win this series easily. Their offense is powered by Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Dexter Fowler, and more. If the Cubs can put up a few runs, it may be hard for the Indians to keep up through the series.
Both the Indians and Cubs have managers with plenty of postseason experience. Francona won two championships with Boston, including one in 2004 that was their first since 1918. And while Madden has not won a championship as a manager, he did win a title as part of the Angels coaching staff in 2002 and brought the Rays to the World Series in 2008. He always seemed to also be in the postseason with the Rays and gained valuable experience with that team.
The difference to me will be the Cubs’ explosive offense against a suspect Indians’ pitching staff. The Blue Jays were able to pile up runs on Cleveland at times but the Indians managed to fight back due to a relatively weak Toronto pitching rotation. The Cubs however have plenty of firepower on offense and a much better pitching staff. Chicago was the best in baseball this year and I believe their great play will continue. It seems like destiny for the Cubs to continue their magical season and finally break the curse and win a World Series title. Either way, I think it will be a great series and both teams deserve to be a this point. But I will pick the Chicago Cubs to win in 6 games and finally give the Chicago fans the joy they have been waiting for.
Daryl Karpinski, Jr.