2016 World Series Preview

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There has been one overarching theme this season as the breaking of droughts took over from spring training into the postseason.

The majority of that fell onto the Chicago Cubs who looked like they were the best team in the league.

They had begun building years ago when their farm system was growing into a force.

Young stars were starting to make their way to the MLB in the last few years and the Cubs quickly had one of the best young teams in the league.

In 2015 they made the postseason and some began talking about their World Series curse coming to an end.

Most though that it wasn’t going to happen though as they were simply too inexperienced to make a real run at the World Series.

They surprised a lot of people when they went to the NLCS against the New York Mets and fell just short of making the World Series for the first time since 1945.

That performance brought a to more believers on board though as they all of a sudden seemed like they were one or two players away from earning that World Series.

The 2016 season began with the Cubs representing the favourites to win it all and break the longest drought in professional sports.

It was the story of the year as everyone wanted to see whether or not the Cubs could win the championship for the first time in over 100 years.

What was a story about one team quickly changed when the postseason began and a number of droughts became breakable.

There was the Cubs who had the worst championship drought but there was also the 23-year drought from Toronto, the 28-year drought by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 30-year drought by the Mets, the 330year drought by Baltimore, the 55-year drought by Texas who has never won a title, and the 68-year drought in Cleveland.

The 2016 postseason was full of championship droughts with only San Francisco and Boston winning within the last decade.baseball-sidebar

Almost every team entered the postseason looking to end the drought but there were two teams that sat with the longest droughts in the league.

Cleveland and Chicago had seen plenty of time go by since the last time they were considered the best team in baseball.

Now as the World Series is about to being both have the chance to end those long periods of suffering for the fans.

Of course, Cleveland’s drought has nothing on Chicago’s but there are still two teams that will break long droughts while the loser will have the longest drought in the league.

Although every player and every franchise are always pursuing a title there is something more to this World Series than their ever has been.

On one side are the loveable losers who have seen every way of losing a chance at the World Series but seem like an unstoppable force all year.

On the other side is the unexpected team who rose to the top on the wave of a city that is seeing a resurgence after years without a championship.

The World Series sees two fan bases known for their suffering more than their success but one of them will come out on top and end the suffering of the fan base while earning the unfamiliar title of World Series champions.

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The Cleveland Indians entered 2016 as a team that was not expected to finish at the bottom of the league but was also not expected to win anything. They were, after all, a part of one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the defending champions looking to get back to the World Series. It started out as many thought but then they found their stride and thanks to a long winning streak in the middle of the season they found themselves on top of the Central. They never looked back remaining a top team and never coming down from their hot streak. They entered the postseason again as a team that wasn’t expected to do a whole lot. Then they beat the red-hot Boston Red Sox and completely cooled down the bats of the Toronto Blue Jays who found their offence against the Rangers in the ALDS. With two convincing wins, they have found themselves four wins away from taking the World Series for the first time since 1948. Four wins would also continue Cleveland’s resurgence into a sports city after a Calder Trophy, UFC Heavyweight title, and NBA Championship all came to the city in the last year. The Indians have pushed their way to the World Series on the backs of their pitching staff from the starters to the bullpen. This year they have the best ERA in the postseason thanks to Cory Kluber continuing his great season along with Josh Tomlin and Ryan Merritt coming through in their first postseason. Along with these starters, their bullpen has been great including Andrew Miller who has been a shut-down pitcher any time he is brought in and no matter who he faces. Their offence may not be as potent as other teams in the postseason but they are a team that seems to get just enough hits to win games. On the offence, they have a good mix of power hitters, hitters to hit for contact, and speed on the base paths. That combination can make things difficult and if they can get going they can put up enough runs and let their pitchers take care of the rest of the game. Cleveland has snuck up on everyone this year but they are a good team with a pitching staff that has shut down some very potent offences. They will need to do the same in the World Series as their offence is not strong enough to keep up with the Cubs. If they can shut down the Cubs’ potent attack they will get just enough to win the four games they need to bring another title back to Cleveland.

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The Cubs are a rarity this year as they started the season as the favourites to win the World Series and they never faltered. Usually when a team goes into a season as a favourite something usually happens to leave them disappointed. Even favourites that end the season at or near the top usually have some kind of period in the season where they fall short of expectations only to climb back. The Cubs never did this as they were the top team at the start of the season, in the middle of the season, and at the end of the season. They started quickly rising to the top of the NL Central and they never looked back staying at the top of the division and the league for the entire season. It has been a long time since a team came into the season as favourites and followed through on that expectation until the postseason. When they entered the postseason they were not as dominant as many expected but they also never seemed to need to fight back to win a series. The Giants provided a challenge from their experience but the Cubs got past them. Then there were the Dodgers who had a great well-rounded team including the best pitcher in the MLB. They got past the Dodgers too even though it seemed like they were on the ropes after the first few games. The Cubs have gotten through two very tough teams on their way to the World Series and they did it with a good pitching staff and very good offence. The Cubs pitching staff is not the best in the league but they are a good group ranking 4th in the postseason this year. With Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester leading the way, the Cubs have some great starters while Aroldis Chapman is still one of the hardest throwing closers in the game while Travis Wood is having a great postseason. Where the Cubs really take control is in their offence as all of their stars have continued their strong seasons. In the postseason Javier Baez has taken it to another level with his ability to get on base and make things difficult for pitchers. The offence could also get a boost as power hitter Kyle Schwarber could return to DH giving them one more power bat in the lineup when in Cleveland. The Cubs are a team that has always done everything well throughout this season. They haven’t really had much weakness and although they didn’t have the easiest time so far but they are still a team that has been the best throughout the season. The Cubs will try to break their streak and it could be the best chance they have as this is the best team they have had in a long time and it could be the first to finally bring the Cubs to the top of the league.

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