Before I begin here, I wanted to say these 10 words, so important to me (and I presume they're exactly how you're feeling as well):
I have been waiting...
my entire life...
for this day.
I'd have loved to be in Cleveland for the first Cubs World Series game in my lifetime. But tickets were simply unobtainable, and I'm not so sure I could have made it anyway, after two trips back & forth to California for the first two rounds over the last couple of weeks.
So I will watch the TV broadcast along with all of you, as well as tomorrow's Game 2, and await being at the first Wrigley Field World Series game in my lifetime on Friday. Speaking of the TV broadcast, tonight is another first -- the first time a Cubs World Series game has ever been televised.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Schwarber DH, Baez 2B, Coghlan RF, Russell SS, Ross C
Davis CF, Kipnis 2B, Lindor SS, Napoli 1B, Santana DH, Ramirez 3B, Guyer LF, Chisenhall RF, Perez C
That's former Cubs farmhand Brandon Guyer starting in left field for the Tribe. He was traded to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, and wound up dealt to Cleveland at this year's deadline for two minor leaguers.
It has been noted that these pitchers matched up against each other at Wrigley Field little more than a year ago, August 24, 2015. Both pitched wonderfully. Lester came within one out of a complete-game shutout. Kluber threw 7⅔ innings, allowed four hits and one run, and struck out 11.
I would expect nothing less tonight, especially with the temperature at game time expected to be around 50 degrees -- definitely weather favoring pitchers.
More recently, Lester has been pretty awesome. Excluding a stinker of an outing in Cincinnati in his last regular-season start, Lester has an 0.76 ERA in his other 10 starts dating back to August 22. He's been magnificent in the postseason: two earned runs in 21 innings (0.86 ERA, 0.762 WHIP) and his World Series record is impeccable: 0.43 ERA in three career starts in the WS (21 innings total).
In other words, this game is exactly why Jon Lester is a Cub, why Theo & Co. wanted him so much, why he wanted to come here.
Corey Kluber has made three starts this postseason. The first, against the Red Sox, was outstanding. The second, vs. the Blue Jays, was pretty good, but the Jays touched him up in Game 4 of the ALCS for two runs in five innings, the only game the Jays won in that series. Is Kluber running out of gas this year? At 233⅓ total innings in 2016, he's just short of the most innings he's thrown any year in his career (235 in 2014).
The keys to this game, as you no doubt know: try to score early and avoid having to face Andrew Miller and the rest of the Indians bullpen, and try to keep the Indians speedsters (Rajai Davis in particular) off base.
These two managers know each other very well, both from many years' worth of matchups in the A.L. East, and from seven games of the 2008 ALCS -- won by Joe Maddon's Rays.
Today's game is on Fox. Announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.
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The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.