Winning a World Series or any other championship isn’t going to be easy. As you’ve probably heard, for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, it’s been just that much harder as the two teams have not won baseball’s greatest prize for a combined 176 straight years.
But last night in Cleveland, things got a little easier for the home team while the Cubs, the best team during the regular season, got straight beat by Corey Kluber, who pitched like a freak, and a Cleveland offense that peeled off six runs while the Cubs didn’t score any. A tough loss, no doubt, with the only rays of sunshine being that at least the Cubs bats weren’t totally cold (they weren’t hot, but they weren’t as totally dead as they’ve been in some games), that reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is on the mound tonight for Game 2 before the series returns to Wrigley Field for the next three games and Kyle Schwarber played like it wasn’t his first game back after missing an entire season.
That’s the good news for the Cubs. The bad news is more in the numbers and history, things that bode very well for Cleveland. As Jayson Stark at ESPN points out, if you lose the first game of the World Series, there’s a really great chance you’re not coming back. It could still go seven games, but if Chicago ends up on the losing end, they’d become the seventh team to lose Game 1 and drop the series. As Stark also points out, 12 of the past 13, 17 of the past 19, 19 of the past 22 and 24 of the last 28 teams that didn’t start off by winning ended up having the longest winter.
That’s great news for Cleveland. What’s also good for the Indians is that the talk is that Kluber hasn’t pitched his last game of the Series. In fact, the discussion is the team’s ace could come back for the fourth and possibly seventh game if it goes to that. That could be good news for the Indians, but then again, the Los Angeles Dodgers thought they could get the same shutout magic from Clayton Kershaw a second time against the very explosive Cubs offense, and that plan backfired and L.A. ended up going home.
The series isn’t over by a long shot, and both teams have numbers and stats against them that could point to why they will either win or go home empty handed once again. But for now, until the second game starts in Cleveland tonight, the team that’s up one game in the series and their fans can breathe a little bit easier.