World Series 1: CHC vs. CLE — #Believeland

Honestly, it must be a good time to be a Clevelander tonight. For all the “Mistake by the Lake” and the polluted river that caught fire jokes, two of the city’s professional sports teams are sitting on top of the world today. Just yards from each other tonight, this year’s NBA champions (Cleveland Cavaliers) began their regular season (beating the Knicks by 29 points, by the way) and received their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony.

Filling the space between the Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field is a plaza that was filled tonight with Cleveland fans of both home teams cheering on their teams via live-feeds into the standing-room-only plaza. And Cleveland had a lot to be cheering about tonight.

Because next door at Progressive Field, the Indians started their World Series run against the visiting Cubs and just dominated. Expected of a postseason-caliber team, the Indians had few weak spots the Cubs could take advantage of, while (once again, sadly) the Cubs just weren’t playing up to the level they should be as displayed through most of this season.

Look, both teams have a slew of just amazing players, especially their starting pitchers. Lester, the Cubs’ starting veteran, just had a terrible night tonight. It just seemed that he wasn’t able to find his stride through most of the game. Oddly, for most games (and pitchers), it’s not that bad of statistics — 97 pitches through almost 6 innings, 6 hits, 3 walks, 3 runs, and 7 really nice strikeouts.

But those runs would come back to haunt Lester, especially due to his shaky 1st inning. In the 1st, with 2 outs, Lester loaded the bases with a single, stolen base, and 2 walks. A single scored the first run, and a hit-by-pitch scored another before Lester finally got out of the inning with a pop-up in foul territory. Perez’s 1-out 4th inning solo home run added some insurance for the Indians, but continued to make a dent in Lester’s outing.

Lester came out in the 6th, where the rest of the game was divided up among the final five Cubs’ bullpen players. But it would be the 8th inning that the Indians got a second major shot at ensuring the Indians’ win tonight. Again, with 2 outs, after Guyer worked a walk and Chisenhall singled, the Cubs went to their final reliever Rondon, who promptly gave up a 3-run home run to Perez (his 2nd homer of the game).

Now, what really made this game worth it for the Indians was their ridiculously stellar pitching. Starting pitcher Kluber just dominated into the 7th inning, with a rather efficient 88 pitches, giving up just 4 hits and striking out a whopping 9 Cubs’ batters. And more importantly, Kluber kept the Cubs scoreless. Miller, of course, kept that momentum going in his 2 outs, with his high pitch count of 46 pitches, getting 3 crucial strikeouts. And Allen came in for 3 strikeouts in the 9th to close out the game.

Worth noting: the Cubs’ pitchers collectively struck out 9 Cleveland batters, but the Indians’ pitching staff struck out an impressive 15 Cubs’ batters.

Final score: 6-0 Indians, Indians lead series 1-0.

Several Yankees’ beat reporters who are currently covering the World Series for their papers, sites, etc. said the biggest Yankee-related story coming out of the postseason is that we’ll get a big bullpen showdown between Miller (for the Indians) and Chapman (for the Cubs). Former teammates, now in opposing uniforms, fighting for opposing teams. Actually, it’s been rather fun watching many former Yankees make postseason appearances this year. Stay tuned after the World Series for a fun post about how former Bronx Bombers did in this postseason.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: game recaps and video highlights are only available the morning following the game, so when it gets uploaded, I’ll add it to the posts after every game.}

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