CLEVELAND — It’s the pairing that many baseball fans wanted. The teams with the longest droughts since last winning the World Series, squaring off in the Fall Classic.
It’s the Cubs and their 108-year gap since winning the Series, against the Indians, who have gone 68 years.
Something has to give.
The opening game is tonight in Cleveland’s Progressive Field with Game 2 tomorrow night. The series will then shift to Chicago for Games 3, 4 and if need be 5.
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The Indians advanced with playoff wins over the Red Sox and Blue Jays while the Cubs eliminated the Giants and Dodgers.
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The Game 1’s pitching matchup is a good one, with former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber going for the Indians against 19-game winner Jon Lester.
The series features two of the more cerebral managers in Terry Francona for Cleveland and Joe Maddon for Chicago.
But as always it boils down to the players, and Cleveland is a banged up team. Second baseman Jason Kipnis may not be able to play tonight as he is nursing a sprained ankle, sustained while celebrating the team’s win in the League Championship Series. And then there’s pitcher Trevor Bauer, who sliced a finger while working on one of his drones during the ALCS.
The final World Series rosters have been released, with the Cubs adding Kyle Schwarber, who has missed pretty much the entire season after tearing two knee ligaments on April 8. He has played in a pair of games in the Arizona Fall League and could be used as a designated hitter.
For Cleveland, the final 25-man roster includes pitcher Danny Salazar, who last pitched in Sept. and had to be shut down for tightness in his forearm. He was chosen to be on the All-Star team in July.
One way or another one of these teams will end a long streak of going winless in a World Series. The action begins tonight in Progressive Field at the same time the NBA Champion Cavaliers open defense of their title just a few hundred yards away in Quicken Loans Arena.