Wednesday, October 12, 2016
2016 ALCS preview
By Rick Morris
For the second time in less than six months, Cleveland and Toronto are battling for a chance at the world championship. This time around, it’s a World Series spot on the line as the Indians and Blue Jays do battle.
Franchises only previously bound by the Len Barker perfect game of 1981, these teams who surprised many by surviving the ALDS meet in an intriguing collision of interestingly-matched teams. Toronto’s widest advantage is in explosive offense, as the core of their lineup can mash better than just about anyone in baseball. Overall, they’re a slightly poor-man’s version of the Red Sox in this regard (still ahead of Terry Francona’s overachieving mix-and-match bunch) which should be encouraging to a Tribe team that shockingly swept through powerful Beantown.
However, Cleveland will have to overcome better starting pitching than the Red Sox could muster. As was the case with Boston, though, none of their big arms can quite measure up to Corey Kluber, who proved himself healthy and dominant in the Division Series. When you pair this with the Tribe’s monster edge in the bullpen (notwithstanding the Jays’ fine performance against the Rangers) and their moderate edge defensively, it becomes clear that Toronto’s best hope is in exerting their will with their great power production.
You have to believe that it will happen at least once. There’s probably a 14-1 beatdown in Cleveland’s future somewhere in this round. But this ride that the Indians are on just doesn’t feel over yet, not least of which because they’d have been more vulnerable to a well-rounded Texas team in the AL finals – in addition to the fact that they wouldn’t have had home field in that scenario. Somebody up there likes these Indians – and, in fact, loves them if they get to escape the Cubs! Cleveland in 6.
Chicago Cubs over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6
Chicago Cubs over Washington in 6
Chicago Cubs over Cleveland in 6