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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Indians series preview

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The last time the Cubs were in Cleveland, really good things happened.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, great: More possible issues with bad weather for this series. Eventually, it will be warm and dry this spring and summer. Right? Right?

This is the first meeting between these two teams in meaningful games since a certain series in October and November 2016, so I asked Matt Lyons, managing editor of our SB Nation Indians site Let’s Go Tribe, to update us on his team.

Cubs fans might remember the Indians from a little series that happened two years ago. I’d rather not talk about it, but if you’re interested, the Indians are a much better team than back then, and they have a lot of the same core in place. Carlos Santana left in the offseason, but he was replaced with Yonder Alonso, who has been one of the team’s best hitters in this slow start to the season. On a similar note, Michael Brantley — whose $11 million option was picked up, precluding the Indians from signing Santana in a lot of Indians fans’ minds — is another great hitter this season, going 16-for-50 (.320) in his first 12 games.

Cubs fans might also remember Rajai Davis, who gave the Indians their most dramatic home run in franchise history, even though it didn’t bring home a trophy. He’s back on the Indians and he’s already stolen four bases this season. So try not to let him and his .265 on-base percentage get to first base somehow.

The pitching staff in the 2016 World Series was, in a word, decimated. I’m not sure how closely Cubs fans follow the Indians, but Josh Tomlin isn’t supposed to be the Tribe’s third starter. No sir. This season, they have four potential aces: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger. You’ll be running into Bauer and Tomlin in this series, at least 50 percent of that should be scary to you. Bauer has been widely inconsistent over his career, but his work at Driveline and dedication to “stealing” Kluber’s best pitch over the offseason have paid off big time in 2018. His pitches look like wiffle balls most of the time; he’s a heck of a pitcher to watch.

Fun fact

All-time in regular-season play, the Cubs and Indians have split 18 games since 1997.

All-time in postseason play... well, you know the answer to that one.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (0-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.787 WHIP, 4.36 FIP) vs. Josh Tomlin, RHP (0-2, 8.00 ERA, 2.111 WHIP, 9.70 FIP)

Wednesday: Jon Lester, LHP (2-0, 3.10 ERA, 1.328 WHIP, 3.49 FIP) vs. Trevor Bauer, RHP (1-3, 2.67 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, 3.56 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 5:10 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Cleveland markets)

Wednesday: 6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

A two-game series. Especially the way the Cubs have been playing lately, I can’t call for them to win both of these. Thus, I’ll predict a split. These two teams will meet again four weeks from now, May 22-23 at Wrigley Field. Perhaps it will have even warmed up by then. For whatever it’s worth, these two teams split four games during spring training this year.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field to host the Milwaukee Brewers in a four-game series beginning Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Indians?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    2
    (129 votes)
  • 57%
    1
    (217 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (34 votes)
380 votes total Vote Now