Game one of the World Series has gone to the American League. The Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago Cubs in the opener in Cleveland behind a solid performance from Corey Kluber and the bullpen, plus two home runs from catcher Roberto Perez.
The Cubs has several opportunities to put some runs on the board, including both innings where the Indians’ star reliever Andrew Miller was on the bump. But in each situation the Cubs faltered, and the Indians were able to keep the Cubs powerful offense from posting any runs.
Like any game, there are a few things we can take away from this one to get a feel for how this series will progress. Below are three of those key takeaways.
1) Corey Kluber is ready for the big stage
Corey Kluber is coming off a sensational season. He won 18 games, while striking out 227 in 215 innings. He had a 3.14 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in what could be a Cy Young winning season for the Indians ace. In the postseason, Kluber possesses a stellar 0.74 ERA in just over 24 innings.
Tuesday night proved he is fact ready to be a star on the biggest stage of the game. In game one, Kluber had to face on of the toughest lineups in baseball, and had to go against the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Dexter Fowler. Kluber pitched six innings, gave up only four hits and struck out nine Cubs. He also did not walk a single batter, and obviously did not allow a run.
It is this type of performance that will help cement Kluber as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Indian fans already knew that, but now every baseball fan knows it. Going in game one means he is guaranteed another start in this series, and if it lasts long enough, potentially two more.
2) Andrew Miller is a magician, and the Cubs better have a lead before the 7th
Andrew Miller has been absolutely filthy in the postseason thus far. His wipe-out slider has been striking people out left and right, and he has been virtually un-hittable. In game one, Miller got another two innings in the books. But this time around, Miller was not totally un-hittable. He allowed two hits, and walked two batters in this one. But when all was said and done, he struck out three and did not allow a run to come across.
Miller showed how talented he is by working around two tough innings. In one inning, Miller had the bases loaded and no one out. After a weak pop out to center field that was too short to bring in a run, Miller struck out the next two to get out of the inning unscathed. This performance just went to show Miller may give up a hit or a walk now and then, but he is capable of working out of any situation.
And that is bad news for the Cubs. Once they hit the seventh inning, Miller and Cody Allen are pretty much a lock for the rest of the game. So if the Cubs are losing after six, it is going to be an uphill climb to a victory. The Indians bullpen is the definition of shortening a game. Scoring early and taking the lead against the Indians starters could very well be their key to winning this series.
3) The Cubs need their big bats to hit
The Cubs did not score a run in game one, and that is largely due to the fact that their top offensive players did not perform. Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant all went hit-less in this game, and that obviously played a big part in the Cubs struggles. If the team wants to win this series, those three are going to have to hit.
The Cubs hot bats, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras both had one hit apiece in this one, while Ben Zobrist was the real highlight with three hits. But none of those hits were big one, as the club could not come through with the clutch hit it needed. The Indians had a big performance from an unlikely source in Roberto Perez in game one, and if the Cubs big boppers are not hitting, they are not going to be able to overcome such a performance.
Kyle Schwarber is back and he nearly missed a homer off Kluber. He later drew a walk against Andrew Miller, and showed his batting prowess could become a big factor moving forward in this series. Starting Chris Coghlan over Jason Heyward did not pay any dividends here, as he went 0-2, while Heyward never even made an appearance. Heyward has struggled with the bat this season, plus the postseason, but the team is paying him a ton of money.
Now we are on to Game two! Game two will be tonight at 7:00 pm EST from Cleveland, and will see Jake Arrieta of the Cubs will take on Trevor Bauer of the Indians on FOX. Who do you think will take game two? Tell us in the comments!