Sports Commentary by: Thomas Touchstone
They waited 108 years for a World Series, but Cubs fans can finally rejoice once again as they saw their team defeat the Cleveland Indians by a final score of 8-7 in the final game of the series.
The Indians squandered a 3-1 series lead. Cleveland and Chicago split the opening two games in Cleveland, and the Indians won the next two in Chicago, which meant the Cubs had to win their next three games in order to hoist the trophy.
Game one saw Indians’ ace Corey Kluber dominate on the mound as he pitched six scoreless innings while only allowing four hits. Star relief pitcher Andrew Miller pitched two scoreless innings for the Indians as he continued his dominant postseason campaign.
Roberto Perez was the main source of offense for Cleveland as he totaled four RBIs on two home runs. The only real spark of life in the Chicago offense came from Ben Zobrist, World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), who had three of the seven Cub hits on the night. The game finished 6-0.
Game two had a similar script; however, the teams reversed roles. Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta only allowed one run in just over five innings of work. Kyle Schwarber had two RBIs on only his fifth game of the season after a gruesome knee injury in early April.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the eighth inning for the Cubs and finished the game, striking out two batters. The Cubs got the victory with a score of 5-1. He sealed the deal on a must-win game for Chicago. The series would travel to the windy city with a tied series count.
Game three was dominated by pitching on both sides. Josh Tomlin was marvelous for the Indians, only allowing two hits in just over four innings. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was able to pitch out of many tough situations and did not allow a run in over four innings.
The veteran and hero for Cleveland, Coco Crisp came on as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and drove in the lone run of the entire game. The Indians won 1-0, and they had a one game lead in the series.
Game four was largely in favor of the Indians as they were firing on all cylinders. Jason Kipnis had three hits and three RBIs on the night. Carlos Santana added three hits of his own and drove in a run.
Kluber pitched game four for the Indians on short rest. He did not show any sign of fatigue as he only allowed one run in six innings. The Indians now had all the momentum in the series. The Cubs needed to win the final three games in order to be crowned champions.
Star duo for the Cubs Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo saw their bats come to life. Bryant hit a home run off Trevor Bauer in the fourth inning, and Rizzo had a double in the third inning. The Cubs finished the game with a 3-2 victory, forcing a game six in Cleveland.
In another must-win game for Chicago, the Cubs’ bats came alive more than they did the entire series. Bryant had a home run in the first inning for his second game in a row with a homer. Addison Russell had a two-run double fall in between the center fielder and left fielder after some miscommunication between the Cleveland defense.
Russell came up to the plate again in the third inning with bases loaded. He crushed a grand slam into the bleachers that pretty much ended all hopes for Cleveland to clinch the title in game six. The final score was 9-3 in favor of the Cubs.
Game seven was for all the marbles.
Everything that both of these teams had been working for all year had boiled down into one final game that would decide who would be the 2016 World Series Champion. Chicago would send Kyle Hendricks to the mound, who played well throughout the postseason. Indians opted to go with Kluber on short rest for his third start of the series.
Some fans had not even made it to their seats, and others may have still been looking for the game before the Cubs took their first lead of the game. Dexter Fowler hit a lead-off home run off of Kluber. This was the first time a lead-off home run was hit in game seven of the World Series.
The Cub lead, however, did not last long. The Indians proved that their pitching was not the only reason why they were able to make such a deep postseason run. Santana had a RBI single in the third inning to tie the game up at three.
The Cubs were able to tack on two more runs in the fourth inning as the faces of many Indian fans were slowly losing hope. Most Cleveland fans were ready to accept defeat after Javier Baez hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Rizzo added a RBI single in that inning.The lead was now 5-1.
Manager Joe Madden brought on his ace Lester to hopefully pitch a few solid innings. The Indians were able to score two runs off of a wild pitch that cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-3.
In the final game of his career, Cubs catcher David Ross came on to bat in the bottom of the sixth and crushed a home run over the centerfield fence. He needed some luck to go his way after some questionable defensive work earlier in the game. The Cubs pushed the lead to 6-3.
The Indians had six outs remaining to get three runs and only needed the eighth inning to tie the game up. Brandon Guyer hit a RBI double, and veteran Rajai Davis hit a two run shot off of Chapman that tied the game for Cleveland. At this point, it was anyone’s game.
Both teams failed to score in the ninth as game seven would have to go into extra innings. The Cubs managed to score twice off of star Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw. Ben Zobrist doubled home a run, and Miguel Montero, who came in for Ross, added a RBI single to make the game 8-6.
Cleveland had to score two runs to send the game to another inning; however, the only managed to get one run across the plate as Bryant fielded a routine ground ball and threw across the diamond to Rizzo for the final out. Rizzo placed the final ball in his pocket and threw his glove in the air in celebration. The Cubs had finally won a World Series title after a 108 year drought.
Both of these teams are very young teams, and both of them should be major title contenders in the coming seasons. The Cubs had enough willpower to come back from a series which saw them fall behind 3-1. Look for these teams to push for more World Series titles in the near future.