The 2016 Major League Baseball season is over and the Chicago Cubs are World Champions as they defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a dramatic Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night from Progressive Field.
It’s heartbreak time in Cleveland once again as the Indians were up three games to one before the effects of an injury-depleted starting rotation finally surfaced against the top team in baseball. The Indians battled down to the wire with the Cubs in a Game 7 that will go down as one of the all-time greatest games in the history of the national pastime.
For the Cubs, their 108-year title drought is over. For the Indians, the void in the baseball championship landscape will grow to a 69th year.
With their 103-win season and 108-year championship drought at stake, the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Cleveland Indians by a 3-2 final in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in the final game at Wrigley Field in the 2016 season.
The Cubs, who have made fans wait a long time for a return to glory, waited until the third and final game in Chicago to get their first World Series win secured at Wrigley Field since 1945. They avoided a home field sweep by the Indians, who had their sights set on clinching the championship on the road in dramatic fashion. The win keeps the hopes alive for the Chicago media darlings, who now trail the best-of-seven series, 3-2. The Fall Classic now returns to Cleveland for the remaining games, as necessary.
The Indians pitching staff contained the Cubs lineup once again, limiting the power-packed bunch to just three runs on the night. The bigger story line for Cleveland, however, was the team’s inability to deliver in the clutch as they missed countless opportunities throughout the contest, all of which loomed large in the one-run defeat for the Tribe.
The Chicago Cubs have waited 71 years to host a World Series game. Their fans will have to wait at least one more day to get their first home win since Game 6 of the 1945 World Series as the Cleveland Indians blanked the Cubs, 1-0, in an instant playoff classic from Wrigley Field on Friday night.
For six innings, the score was deadlocked at zero as both starters, Josh Tomlin and Kyle Hendricks, kept the opposition off of the scoreboard while exiting before completing the fifth inning. Bullpens took over and continued to put goose eggs on the board until the seventh, when the Indians put together the rally that they needed. After grabbing a one-run lead, the bullpen tandem of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen took over for Andrew Miller and walked a tight rope, but pulled out the victory.
Chicago starter Jake Arrieta froze the Cleveland bats, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and his offense jumped on Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen to even up the World Series at one win a piece in a 5-1 Cubs win on Wednesday night.
With rain in the forecast throughout the day in Cleveland and a cool fall feel in the air, the Cubs and Indians played Game 2 from Progressive Field as the Chicago bats woke up while those of their opponents slumbered.
All eyes were on Bauer in the first, waiting for the stitched together right pinkie finger of the young right-handed starter to hemorrhage blood as it had done in the second game of the American League Championship Series against Toronto. The finger held together just fine, but Bauer’s command was not nearly as crisp as the air and Chicago touched him up for a run in their first at bats of the night.
They say all good things must come to an end, and such was the case on Tuesday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians saw their franchise-record six-game postseason winning streak conclude behind a strong pitching performance from the Toronto staff and the reemergence of their bats in a 5-1 win by the Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
The Indians had no answer for 24-year-old right-hander Aaron Sanchez, one of the Jays’ All-Stars this season in his third year in the Majors. Coming off of a 15-win regular season and a tidy 3.00 ERA, he kept the Jays in the ball game by keeping the Cleveland bats at bay and his offense provided its first burst of runs against the Indians in the series and did so against their ace, Corey Kluber.
“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” The quote from LeBron James has become a silent mantra for the city of Cleveland and was certainly appropriate for the Indians this season. Monday night proved to be no different as, despite losing starter Trevor Bauer just two outs into the first inning with blood gushing from his stitched together right pinkie finger, the Tribe bullpen combined with four runs of offense to defeat the Blue Jays, 4-2, in Toronto in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
The improbable, incomprehensible, and magical victory for the Indians moved the club just one win from clinching the American League pennant with four chances remaining to drive the final nail into the Blue Jays’ coffin for 2016. As obstacle after obstacle and distraction after distraction has stood menacingly in the way of the Indians this season and again in the postseason, a team of destiny appears not only up to the task of defying the odds, but defeating them in the most unrealistic of ways.
Throughout the playoffs thus far, there’s been a lot of talk in regards to how the Indians pitching staff may not be strong enough to make it through to the World Series. While this could potentially be true, there’s a key component of this Indians team that could propel them through all of the injuries, and that would be their bullpen.
Coming into the season, there were plenty of question marks surrounding the pen as a whole. In 2015, it was pretty clear that manager Terry Francona loved to rely on his two guys – closer Cody Allen and setup man Bryan Shaw. Allen, appeared in 70 games in 2015 and threw in 69 1/3 innings. Shaw, on the other hand, appeared in 74 games and threw 64 innings.
These two were the anchors of a pen that was fairly questionable through most of the 2015 season. Like most seasons, Tito made a relatively unknown guy amazing in Jeff Manship, just as he had done to Scott Atchison in 2014. Along with them, there was Zach McAllister, Kyle Crockett, and even Trevor Bauer at the end of the season. From time to time we did see guys in the likes of Austin Adams, Shawn Armstrong, and Giovanni Soto.
Carlos Santana supplied the Tribe with the deciding runs for the second straight night as his three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a 2-2 tie while sending the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 victory and three-game sweep over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
With the game knotted up at deuces and reliever Dillon Gee on for his second inning of work in relief of Kansas City starter Jason Vargas, Jason Kipnis was plunked by a pitch with the count full. Francisco Lindor worked a five-pitch walk before Mike Napoli popped up to short for the first out. Two pitches later, Santana hooked a homer into the seats in right to put Cleveland on top by a 5-2 count.
The Indians offense could not deliver the big hit when it mattered while the White Sox got the one that counted the most as Chicago defeated Cleveland behind a 2-1 walk-off win on Thursday afternoon.
After the Tribe failed to score with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, the White Sox ended the series finale with a celebration at U.S. Cellular Field. Bryan Shaw, on for his second inning of work after striking out the lone batter he faced in the eighth inning in the dangerous Todd Frazier, gave up a leadoff single to Omar Narvaez. He was lifted for pinch-runner Leury Garcia, who picked off second base with Adam Moore on behind the plate for Roberto Perez. Avisail Garcia struck out in the process, but it was a moot point in the grand scheme of things as Carlos Sanchez delivered the game-winning single to right to give Chicago the 2-1 win.
September seems like a bad time to have rotation problems and the hole in the Cleveland Indians pitching staff could not be plugged effectively in a bullpen game as the Tribe labored through Labor Day in a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Monday night.
Josh Tomlin’s turn in the rotation was skipped in favor of Mike Clevinger, who was expected to work at most a few innings after making five shorter appearances over the last two and a half weeks. The team would then turn the game over to the bullpen, deeper now with the expansion of the roster on September 1.
If it seemed a bad way to approach a game that you wanted to win, you might be right.
The magic was back again at Progressive Field as Francisco Lindor’s bases loaded walk-off single with one out in the bottom of the ninth capped a three-run comeback as the Cleveland Indians stunned the Washington Nationals, 7-6, on Tuesday night.
After a shaky start from All-Star Danny Salazar and with the Indians’ offense once again contained by Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, Cleveland entered the ninth trailing 6-4 with Washington closer Jonathan Papelbon coming on for the save. It would prove to be anything but routine for the veteran right-hander, who wasted no time getting into trouble.