MLB World Series Preview

The highly anticipated World Series matchup between the American League Champions Cleveland Indians and National League winners Chicago Cubs starts tonight at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Both teams have been impressive in the post season, progressing through to the finals without much trouble at all. Indians have only lost one game in seven, while Cubs dropped three altogether. It’s safe to say the World Series features two of the MLB’s best teams.

The Indians have a small advantage having rested for a couple of days more than the Cubs, although there might be a bit of rust to shake off since their last start was almost a week ago. Also they get to start at home, where they went 53-28 in the regular season and are of course unbeaten so far in the post season. Cubs were a great road team during the regular season, boasting a 46-34 record and they also won their last two away games in the series vs Dodgers. It might turn out that home advantage has no impact whatsoever in the series.

With the teams so evenly matched up all over the field, the decisive factor is likely to be – surprise, surprise – quality of pitching. So far the Indians have shown some amazing depth both in their starting troops and bullpen, something that was deemed a bit of an Achilles’ heel especially after the injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Salazar might be joining the ranks to relieve if needed, which will put another ace up the sleeve of Terry Francona.

If the pitching department of Indians has performed admirably, the same statement holds true with the Cubs as well. Headlined by emerging third year ace Kyle Hendricks, Cubs starting rotation is second to none in baseball. With Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey providing steady hands as starters, the bullpen has had a relatively easy job so far. It is likely they will need all hands on deck against the Indians, though.

In Accuscore simulations the World Series 2016 seems to be as close as ever.

GAME 1

CHC

CLE

 

GAME 2

CHC

CLE

Starters

Lester

Kluber

 

Starters

Arrieta

Bauer

Win %

51.4

48.6

 

Win %

49.2

50.8

 

After simulating the games for approx. 10 000 times, the average difference between the teams is minimal in all aspects. It seems that Jon Lester has a marginal edge over Corey Kluber, as does Trevor Bauer over Jake Arrieta.

Moving down the line to games played in Chicago, the Cubs emerge bigger favorites as long as either Hendricks, Lester or Arrieta is starting. Indians might try and mix it up by giving a nod to yet another newcomer Ryan Merritt, who impressed against Toronto, or even Danny Salazar if he’s returning from the injury.

With the current pitching rotation and an assumption there will be no injuries during the World Series, the Cubs are more likely to end their championship drought this year.

Chicago Cubs probability to win the World Series: 51.8%

Most likely outcome: Cubs in 6, 15.78%