The 2016 World Series has begun, and it doesn’t look good for the Chicago Cubs, losing game 1 to the Cleveland Indians 6-0, as Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen held the best team in baseball without a run.
This isn’t the first time the Cubs were held scoreless in the postseason – it happened to them twice against the Dodgers. The difference was they did generate hits (7), 3 of them by Ben Zobrist, and got a couple of walks. The problem was taking advantage of opportunities, as they went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring positions, leaving nine players on base during the entire game. That, and Jon Lester having his first bad game in the postseason.
Lester wasn’t disastrous, but he was a sure thing up until now. Suddenly, he gave up two runs in the 1st inning and another homer in the 4th. The Cubs turned to their bullpen with mixed results. Their offense couldn’t provide some support, and eventually it came down to the Indians hitting another home run in the 8th, as Roberto Perez finished with two homers, including the big three-run shot that pretty much closed the game early.
Corey Kluber was terrific in six innings, pretty much the max the Indians are willing to give one of their starters in this postseason, relying heavily on the bullpen. He allowed four hits and struck out nine. Miller followed, and while he’s not unhittable like in the early stages of the Blue Jays series, he’s giving all those in front of him a lot of trouble, striking out 3 while giving up 2 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings of work. Cody Allen came in for the final inning, striking out 3 to make it a smooth finish.
Besides Perez, the Indians got surprising contribution from Brandon Guyer and Jose Ramirez, each with early RBIs to get things going. Francisco Lindor was sharp as ever, getting 3 hits in 4 at bats, picking up one run. Five of the six RBIs the Indians got were in 2-out situations. They were better than the Cubs, but mostly when it came to take advantage of their opportunities. This wasn’t the kind of blowout when one team does everything right and their opponents are a miserable failure.
Kyle Schwarber played at the DH position for the Cubs, hitting 1-for-3 and getting a walk. The big disappointment was where the Cubs usually got their hits and runs from so far in the postseason: Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Addison Russell went o-for-15 at the plate, managing one walk between them. Getting 7 hits off the Indians pitching isn’t bad, but when the guys you rely on to generate runs blow it time after time, it’s going to be difficult winning games in this world series.