Saturday, October 29, 2016
A Mid-Series Meditation: Is This What We Wanted?
Tonight is Game 4 of the World Series. Thanks to schoolwork, general business, and a Halloween party, I haven't had enough opportunities to really talk about it. So, right now, I'm gonna go in depth.
We've had three games so far. One was ruled by pitching, the other two ruled by opposite offenses. So far this is pretty even, but judging by the fact that the Indians are up by one heading into Game 4, it's looking slightly dire for Chicago. The Cubs have had one game where their offense has shone, and this is the one game so far that's been pitched by Trevor Bauer.
I do sort of understand the Indians' decision to have a 3-man rotation, even if they have Ryan Merritt, who could have clearly started tonight rather than a short-rest Corey Kluber, and Danny Santana, who's been cleared to pitch but apparently Terry doesn't want him to start in the World Series (?). But, with Tomlin, Kluber and Bauer, this configuration gives them two lights-out, commanding pitchers...and Trevor Bauer, who's been less than reliable so far this Series, bleeding all over the field literally and figuratively over the course of his last two starts.
By comparison, the Cubs have had a slightly less fruitful pitching experience, even if they are going for a fuller 4-man rotation (sorry Jason Hammel). I can't really say that any of the guys they've started lately, Lester, Hendricks or Arrieta, have had any truly horrible starts. If anything, the lone Coco Crisp run was the fault of Carl Edwards, not Hendricks. Tonight's starter is John Lackey, and even if he's comparatively bringing up the rear in terms of overall 2016 performance, he's still probably gonna be pretty sharp today, especially considering he's had more rest than Corey Kluber.
But, in terms of a Series between two teams that have deserved playoff berth for over 50 years, has this all been worth it so far? I mean, by my standards, yes. There have been games highlighted by both amazing pitching and amazing hitting. Unlike last year, it's not a blowout- this is an even series that could go either way. There can be games where the Indians will be ahead, thanks to people like Francisco Lindor, Brandon Guyer or Coco Crisp, and there'll be games where the Cubs will be ahead, thanks to Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo or Ben Zobrist. It's honestly pretty even, and as a World Series, so far I've been pretty impressed.
Tonight, either Cleveland breaks the whole thing wide open or the Cubs tie it up. Either way, this has been a very exciting series so far, and it's been very fun to watch.