The 2016 World Series hits the diamond at Progressive Field for game two on Wednesday night, with the Cleveland Indians shooting for a commanding 2-0 series lead over the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Both teams have waited a long time for a chance to bring back a World Series title to their respective cities, which makes Wednesday night’s tilt all the more important. Either the Cubs can notch the series up at 1-1, or the Indians will take one step closer to MLB glory.
Things did not go as planned for the Cubs in game one, as the league’s most potent offense was completely blanked (6-0) in a game where the would-be best team in baseball really didn’t show up on either side of the field.
Game one was all about the home team, as Indians ace Corey Kluber lived up to his elite status by completely stifling the Cubs by allowing just four hits and retiring nine batters (9 strikeouts).
It won’t be Kluber back on the mound for game two of the 2016 World Series, however, which could crack the door open for Chicago’s offense to step up and make this a series. Let’s take a look at Wednesday night’s matchup and see which side of the fence you may want to reside on when it comes to World Series betting:
Cubs vs. Indians Odds – Game 2
The oddsmakers aren’t giving us much wiggle room in a series that began as a toss-up and even after a one-sided game one, still feels very much the same. Chicago naturally gets the edge to get things started tonight, seeing as Kluber can’t pitch in back to back games and the Cubs will badly want to avoid an 0-2 hole.
Here’s a look at the World Series odds over at Bovada for game two:
Cubs to Win -137
Indians to Win +127
As you can see, you’re not chasing big money tonight unless you put down some fat cash. And then you have to be right, of course.
Still, the Cubs were the better team all year and aren’t likely to come up so lame for the second game in a row. The Indians are once again playing in front of their home crowd, however, so you can truly go either way in this one.
Cubs vs. Indians Matchup
The best way to figure out which way this game is going is to first take a look at tonight’s pitching matchup. In game one it looked like Jon Lester vs. Corey Kluber had the makings of a classic, but Lester got knocked around a bit and gave up three runs.
That alone wasn’t good enough against a red hot Kluber, but Chicago’s offense not finding a way to convert seven hits into any runs really hurt the Cubs.
Tonight could be quite different, as the Cubs put forth their top ace in Jake Arrieta (18-9, 3.20 ERA) and Cleveland hangs its hat on the volatile Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.28 ERA).
At first glance, this has to be a Cubs win. Arrieta has had some struggles in 2016, but he’s Chicago’s top pitcher and for them to make any noise in this World Series, he has to come through.
It’s been a world of opposites with these two. Arrieta usually starts hot and fades after five or six innings – at least lately, while Bauer can go deep if he can stay upright through the first few innings. Bauer’s biggest concern is the long ball, and with a matchup against mashers like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, that will certainly be something on his mind.
That may be the true key here, aside from the pitching. Bryan, Rizzo and fellow masher Dexter Fowler combined for a brutal 0-11 line in game one and flat out need to be better in a massive game two.
Defensively, the Cubs have the edge on the year. They were a dominant defense that allowed just 556 runs in a year where no other defenses allowed fewer than 612. That tells you their pitching is top notch and their fielding isn’t far behind.
Jake Arrieta’s Woes
As much as the offense needs to step it up, I think the real issue at hand is that Arrieta – for whatever reason – hasn’t been the elite guy he’s supposed to be. He still can come up big, shutdown the Indians and tie this thing back up, but logic doesn’t really support it.
Cleveland is not an offense to mess with, as they won 94 games behind 777 runs in 2016 and were particularly strong at Progressive Field (53-28). Given how the bats responded to a difficult matchup in game one, there’s a very real fear that they’ll be out to party again tonight.
Arrieta could deal in this one, but he’s been bad on the road (1-4 in last five road starts) and wasn’t great in his last start.
Cubs vs. Indians Game 2 Pick
While the Cubs offense needs to come to life and which version of Jake Arrieta we get are two very pressing concerns for Chicago, nothing tells me more about game than what Trevor Bauer gives the Indians.
Ultimately, I just don’t trust Bauer and Chicago still has the superior arm, offense and motivation to get a big win here. He’s just so volatile and if things get out of hand early, this Cubs offense can really pile it on. With Arrieta hopefully keeping it together on his side of the mound, the Cubs should be able to get the win and make this a series.
Pick: Cubs 5, Indians 3
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