By Jeremiah Delgado
The two greatest words in the world if you’re a sports fan?
There might be nothing more exciting than a Game 7 to decide who walks away a champion and that’s exactly what we have before us when the Cubs and Indians square off in Game 7 of the World Series tonight.
Only one drought will end and here are some reasons why the Cubs will win, why the Indians will win, and of course, why they won’t win.
The Cubs will win if…
The Cubs will win if their 3-6 hitters in the lineup hit with runners on base. Game 6 was a clear-cut example of what can happen if Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell hit the ball. They will set the tone for Game 7 and have gotten hot at the right time.
Chicago will also win Game 7 if they get the ball to Aroldis Chapman with a lead no earlier than the 9th inning. This might seem obvious but it’s the second part that will be difficult. Chapman has thrown 62 pitches in the span of three nights. He will not be able to go more than one inning, despite what he or Joe Maddon believes.
Finally, assuming Jon Lester pitches tonight, he needs to keep runners off base. In Game 5, Rajai Davis was able to steal three bases off of Lester and two in the same inning. This game is going to be close and getting runners into scoring position is going to be tough.
The Cubs will lose if…
This game finds its way into extra innings. The Cubs do not trust their bullpen outside of Chapman and Cleveland has the deeper bullpen.
The Indians give the game over to their bullpen with a lead and Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Travis Shaw are all well-rested and ready to pitch at least two innings a piece.
That, and if Corey Kluber gets in a groove the Cubs will be in trouble. Chicago will lose if they don’t work the count against Kluber and swing at everything.
The Indians will win if…
They can jump on Kyle Hendricks early in this game and get an early lead. As stated previously, their bullpen is ready to go and could go for five innings easily if they need. Nothing will be better for Kluber than to have an early lead and not have to worry about going more than five innings.
Davis can get on base and wreak havoc on the base paths. Hits will be very limited so if anybody needs to get on base it is Davis. Stealing bases is his game and it will allow the hitters to just make contact on possible bunts and sacrifice flies to advance him.
Kluber has to make sure to shut down Bryant and Rizzo. Those two are scorching hot right now and are the going to set the tone for the rest of the Cubs lineup.
The Indians will lose if…
Kluber has to throw too many pitches early in the game. He is already pitching on short rest and this will be the third time the Cubs see him in the series. Kluber could show signs of fatigue and walk too many hitters.
Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez also will have to hit the ball for the Indians to win. Cleveland does not have as potent of a lineup as the Cubs do, therefore, timely hitting is their game. They need to hit the ball in clutch situations.
Speaking of clutch hitting, if Jason Heyward can finally hit the ball, the Indians can be in trouble too. The Cubs spent big money on Heyward to produce and if the rest of the lineup struggles then Heyward could be a huge boost for the lineup.
This should be a fun one as a baseball fan, but probably not so much for the fans of these two teams.
First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET live from Progressive Field in Cleveland.