Baseball Odds: 4 Predictions for Second Half of 2017

aaron-judge-yankeesThe MLB season is halfway over, meaning many teams are gearing up for a second-half playoff push.

Some clubs like the LA Dodgers and Houston Astros are shoo-ins for division titles. Others like the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers must work to keep their leads. Can these teams hold on and win their divisions?

Then there’s the matter of MVP. Moreover, will rookie Aaron Judge take the AL MVP? Let’s answer these questions and more as we discuss second-half MLB predictions.

1. Tampa Bay will Top Boston in AL East

tampa-bay-rays-2017-champsThe Boston Red Sox are in good shape in the AL East right now. They’re 10 games above .500 (51-41) and hold a 2.5-game lead in their division. Nevertheless, we don’t see Boston taking home the crown.

Instead, we believe that the Tampa Bay Rays will chase down the Sox and win the East. Why can the 49-44 Rays win?

Going into the All-Star break, Kevin Cash’s team had won 14 of its last 17 series. They also seem to be playing better and better as the year goes along.

One reason for the Rays strong play is their offense. Even with Evan Longoria not having his greatest season ever (.267/13 HR), this team has the AL’s third-best slugging percentage. Corey Dickerson (.312/17 HR) and Logan Morrison (.257/26 HR) have had better seasons than anybody imagined.

The thing holding Tampa Bay back is their rotation, which has been average so far. But this could change since Brad Boxberger is healthy again, and Futures Game MVP Brent Honeywell is available for call-up any time. Bullpen help before the trade deadline could really push the Rays forward.

Of course, the Sox have the most talent and best chance to win. But will they venture further into luxury tax territory to upgrade at the deadline?

Then there’s the Yankees (47-42), who also have a chance to win. However, they’ve been hesitant to look for solutions in their farm system, and have only made low-cost moves.

Odds are that the AL East race stays tight until the end. In this scenario, we believe that Tampa Bay can win the division, or at least maintain their current Wild Card spot.

GTBets AL Pennant Odds:
Boston Red Sox +290
New York Yankees +850
Tampa Bay Rays +2500

2. Brewers will Hold onto NL Central Lead

As we’ve covered, the World Series champion Chicago Cubs (46-45) aren’t doing so hot right now. And everybody keeps waiting for them to turn the corner and overtake the Milwaukee Brewers (52-46).

After all, nobody could’ve envisioned Chicago – winner of 103 games last season – not making the postseason this year.

But here we are and in mid-July, and Milwaukee still has a comfortable 4.5-game lead in the Central. Leading the Cubs this late in the year has given the Brewers confidence. And this confidence can likely lead to a division title thanks a solid all-around team.

A 45-plus run differential tells us everything we need to know about how well this team is playing. Furthermore, it’s not like Milwaukee has just gotten lucky either. They’ve had seven extra-inning losses, making us think that they actually deserve better luck.

What’s impressive is that this has happened with Ryan Braun mostly out. If they get Braun healthy for a long stretch, then their already power-packed lineup will excel even more.

GTBets NL Pennant Odds:
Chicago Cubs +360
Milwaukee Brewers +1200

3. The Cleveland Indians will Dominate the AL Central

corey-kluber-indiansThis is the biggest prediction we’re making because the Cleveland Indians (47-43) are only 1.5 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins (46-45). The Kansas City Royals (45-45) are also in the thick of things.

But there’s reason to believe that the Tribe can accelerate in the second half and earn a short at World Series redemption.

Cleveland got off to a poor start, amid lineup struggles and a terrible home record. This combination has enabled the Twins and Royals to hang around – with the latter giving their 2015 championship roster one last chance.

We expect separation, though, because Indians’ staff aces Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber will eventually get things straightened out.

Danny Salazar is making adjustments in the minor leagues and will be back. Then there’s Trevor Bauer, who’s in the process of simplifying his pitches. Assuming the staff comes together, then we’ll see a much-different Indians squad moving forward.

We also think that the stats bear some mind here. Cleveland is the only AL Central team with a positive run differential. This is impressive considering that the Indians have yet to iron out their rotation. Long story short, expect Cleveland to win the Central by 8-10 games.

GTBets AL Pennant Odds:
Cleveland Indians +333
Kansas City Royals +1800
Minnesota Twins +2500

4. Aaron Judge won’t Win the AL MVP

Nobody has created more excitement this season than New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge.

The 6’7″, 282-pound outfielder has hit .313, slammed 30 home runs, and tallied 66 RBIs. It’s as impressive a rookie season as we’ve seen in over a decade. The only catch…it won’t result in an MVP award.

One problem is that only two rookies have won the award (Fred Lynn in 1975; Ichiro Suzuki in 2001). This alone shows that the odds are against Judge.

But what if he breaks the rookie home run record (Mark McGwire, 49 in 1987) as it looks like he’s going to do? And what if he adds the rookie walks record (Ted Williams, 107 in 1939)?

If so, then this could be the greatest rookie season ever. But the question is if he can maintain his pace as the season heads towards the 100-game mark. Judge has never played more than 131 baseball games in a season. This means he’ll likely be dealing with fatigue as we move forward.

Then there’s the Yankees themselves. With a 47-42 record, they currently hold a Wild Card slot. But they’re in a tight division race with the Boston Red Sox (51-41) and Tampa Bay Rays (49-44) and could easily relinquish their playoff position. If the Yankees don’t make it, then we don’t see Judge earning MVP honors.

What’s more is that the AL has a number of other MVP candidates, including the Indians’ Jose Ramirez, Anaheim’s Mike Trout, Baltimore’s Chris Sale, and one of several Houston Astros. Our bet is that Judge fades and one of the Astros separates from their teammates to win.

But we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Judge continue his outstanding season and become the first rookie to win the award since Ichiro.

Cubs Odds: What’s Wrong with Chicago in 2017?

cubs-2017-strugglingThe Chicago Cubs were riding high on a World Series title and ending 107 years of disappointment. But those good feelings are largely gone, with Chicago sitting at 45-45 halfway through the season.

This is especially bad when considering that the Cubs came into the season as 4-to-1 championship favorites at GTBets. Moreover, it was considered a given that they’d win the NL Central.

But here we are in mid-July and they’re 5.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers. Forget the World Series – this team isn’t even in a Wild Card slot.

So what happened?

Let’s discuss this matter by looking at several aspects that are holding the 2017 Chicago Cubs back.

Bad Start to the Season

It’s not like this team lost everybody off last season’s squad. In fact, they returned their core that had previously gone 147-77 over the past season and a half.

But Chicago stumbled to a tough start and hasn’t recovered yet. They began the year with an okay 13-11 start in April. But the Cubs didn’t get any better in May, going 12-16.

Some expected Chicago to get hot in June and shake off their World Series hangover. But they followed up with a 15-13 record in June. Add in a 5-5 start to July, and Chicago is currently several games out of both the NL Central lead and a Wild Card spot.

This kind of deficit isn’t impossible to overcome. After all, other teams have overcome far worse. But the season is also 55 percent finished. Few expected Chicago to wait this long to turn on the fire. Now, many are wondering if they still have any fire.

Cubs’ Bats are Struggling Mightily

The Chicago Cubs problems definitely don’t start with Anthony Rizzo or Kris Bryant. Both sluggers have combined for 38 home runs and are keeping the Cubs from plunging further into the abyss.

addison-russell-cubsUnfortunately, Kyle Schwarber, who’s supposed to be the third member of this bomb squad, is having a terrible season. While his power has been there (14 HR), his batting average is a dismal .180. Things have been so bad that Schwarber was even demoted to Triple-A.

Shortstop Addison Russell has been another disappointment so far. He’s hit just .230 and has an on-base percentage of .301.

Pitching has been Bad Too

Perhaps Chicago could overcome their hitting woes if their pitching returned to where it was last year. But we can safely say that this hasn’t been the case.

jon-lester-vs-indiansJon Lester, who boasted a 2.44 ERA last year, current has a 4.25 ERA and 5-6 record.

Last season, we were singing Kyle Hendricks’ praises as he held a league-leading 2.13 ERA. This year, Hendricks has returned to earth with a 4.09 ERA. John Lackey is performing even worse with a 5.20 ERA, possibly signaling the end for the 38-year-old.

But the biggest letdown of all has been Jake Arrieta. After playing outstanding for 3 straight years – including a Cy Young award in 2015 – Arrieta looks like a 31-year-old in decline. His ERA currently sits at 4.17 and he has a mediocre 9-7 record.

This isn’t just a case of a guy in bad year either. Arrieta has lost velocity and batters are no longer struggling against him. He’ll be a free agent after this season, but don’t expect Arrieta to get paid star money.

Leadership has Taken a Hit

Another reason why Chicago is struggling is because they don’t have the same clubhouse leadership. Dexter Fowler and David Ross – two guys who were great in this department – are now gone. Fowler signed with the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals, while Ross retired after last year’s championship.

Having these two around could’ve given the team a lift through their dark times. Maybe Ross and/or Fowler could’ve prevented catcher Miguel Montero from blaming Arrieta for stolen bases – an incident got the former cut.

Is the World Series Hangover Real?

The World Series hangover is often discussed, but sometimes dismissed. However, looking at this year’s Cubs, we have to wonder if it’s real.

Relieving a 107-year curse is a recipe for the ultimate hangover. Given that five consecutive World Series champions have failed to make the playoffs the following year, Chicago wouldn’t be in exclusive company by bombing out in 2017.

They say that baseball is the hardest sport to repeat in. And recent results show that former champs haven’t even come close to contending the following year:

  • 2016 Kansas City Royals: 81-81 record – 14 fewer wins than previous season.
  • 2014 Boston Red Sox: 71-91 – 16 fewer wins than the previous season.
  • 2013 San Francisco Giants: 78-86 – 16 fewer wins than previous season.

Given that Chicago is almost as close to the last-place Cincinnati Reds (39-52) as they are the first-place Brewers (52-45), they could very well wind up on this list. After all, 103 wins is a lofty total to reach.

The lone solace is that this team faces less pressure than most other champions. The 2016 Cubs ended the curse, and this has still left some good feelings behind.

Help on the Way

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer fully realizes that the team needs some help. So he recently traded prospects for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.

This doesn’t look like a huge move on paper because Quintana is having his worst season as a pro. His 4.49 ERA and 5-8 record made him expendable.

But at 28 years old and with a career 3.51 ERA, Quintana is still highly regarded. And perhaps the cross-town move will energize a pitcher who boasted a 3.20 ERA last season.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Cubs are also very interested in Oakland A’s pitcher Sonny Gray. The right-hander currently has a 5-4 record and 3.74 ERA.

2018 Cubs Odds

As mentioned before, we had the Cubs as big favorites to open the season. But now, their World Series odds are +650 in our GTBets sportsbook. Their odds of winning National League Pennant are +360.

If you believe in Chicago’s ability to turn things around, then you should consider betting on them while their odds are still low.

2017 MLB Futures: Cubs Tabbed to Win Again

kyle-hendricks-cubsThe Chicago Cubs completed a dramatic comeback from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. That said, it’s little surprise why they have the best odds in our 2017 MLB futures.

The Cubs currently sit at +320 odds of winning. Last season, Chicago notched a 103-58 record — eight more than any other team. Given that they haven’t lost any talent from last year’s squad, they’re favored to repeat again.

If anything, Chicago is an even better team after trading Jorge Soler for Kansas City Royals pitcher Wade Davis, and signing Brett Anderson and Koji Yehara in the offseason.

The AL team with the best odds of winning is not runner-up Cleveland, but rather the Boston Red Sox. One year after winning the AL East with a 93-69 mark, Boston’s odds sit at +475.

Some Vegas sportsbooks have the Red Sox with even better odds since they added pitcher Chris Sale (3.34 ERA) through a trade with the Chicago White Sox. Other things going in Boston’s favor include rising outfielder prospect Andrew Benintendi, and adding Mitch Moreland and Tyler Thornburg. While Sale is the big move, these factors also play into the idea that the Red Sox is on the rise.

corey-kluber-indiansThe Cleveland Indians are next up at +700 odds after winning the AL Central (94-67) and coming within a game of winning a World Series title. The Indians arose from a muddled AL to make the World Series, and GTBets oddsmakers think that they have a chance to return.

Other teams that have strong odds include the Los Angeles Dodgers (+850) and Washington Nationals (+900). The Nationals won the NL East with a 95-67 mark, while the Dodgers took the AL West with a 91-71 record. Both teams boast a lot of pitching talent and will look to dethrone the defending champion Cubs.

Below you can see a full list of the 2017 MLB futures that GTBets is currently offering:

Arizona Diamondbacks +10000
Atlanta Braves +12500
Baltimore Orioles +4000
Boston Red Sox +475
Chicago Cubs +320
Chicago White Sox +10000
Cincinnati Reds +20000
Cleveland Indians +700
Colorado Rockies +4000
Detroit Tigers +4000
Houston Astros +1500
Kansas City Royals +4000
Los Angeles Angels +7500
Los Angeles Dodgers +850
Miami Marlins +6000
Milwaukee Brewers +20000
Minnesota Twins +15000
New York Mets +1600
New York Yankees +2000
Oakland Athletics +11000
Philadelphia Phillies +12500
Pittsburgh Pirates +4500
San Diego Padres +20000
San Francisco Giants +1500
Seattle Mariners +3000
St Louis Cardinals +2200
Tampa Bay Rays +11000
Texas Rangers +2200
Toronto Blue Jays +2500
Washington Nationals +900

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 7

addison-russell-world-seriesThe Chicago Cubs demolished the Cleveland Indians 9-3 to extend the 2016 World Series to a seventh-and-deciding game.

Chicago struck in the first inning on a solo homer by Kris Bryant and a two-out double by Addison Russell – putting them up 3-0. The double was excruciating because Cleveland outfielders Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall both misplayed it.

Josh Tomlin got into major trouble in the third inning, loading the bases before being pulled in favor of Dan Otero. The latter gave up a grand slam to Russell, making the score 7-0.

The Indians would threaten in the bottom of the fourth, with Mike Napoli producing an RBI single and the team loading the bases. However, starter Jake Arrieta got himself out the jam and ended the Cleveland threat.

Arrieta would leave in the sixth inning with two outs and a 7-2 lead. Aroldis Chapman pitched the rest of the way, giving up one run in the ninth.

The stage is set for an exciting Game 7 between the Cubs and Indians. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect, including the game line and analysis on both teams.

GTBets Line for Indians vs Cubs Game 7 (8pm EST, Nov 2)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+145), moneyline -118
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-165), moneyline +108

World Series Game 7 Betting Analysis

Cubs Analysis

If there’s one thing that the Cubs have done well during these playoffs, it’s been coming back from playoff deficits.

They were down 3 runs to the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning, before an offensive explosion saved their postseason and helped them move to the NLCS.

In the NLCS, they got down 2 games to 1 to the LA Dodgers, before finding their offense again and beating a strong lineup of Dodgers pitchers.

Now, they’ll try to complete yet another comeback after facing a 3-1 deficit against Cleveland.

“It wasn’t no cakewalk for us facing the three-time champions in the first round, and the Dodgers with Kershaw and the way they’ve figured out ways to win all year,” said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

kyle-hendricks-cubsChicago will put Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) on the mound for Game 7. As good as Hendricks was during the regular season, he’s been even better in the postseason with a 1.31 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 20 innings.

Even in the Game 3 loss that he pitched, Hendricks gave up zero runs in 4.1 innings. In fact, he hasn’t given up any runs since facing the San Francisco Giants. So it would be hard to find a better pitcher for this Game 7 effort.

The Cubs’ bats finally woke up last night too, with Russell, Bryant, and Rizzo having outstanding games. They form a dangerous bottom of the order and one that Cleveland must work around to win this game.

Indians Analysis

This is the absolute last position that Cleveland wanted to be in when they raced out to a 3-1 series lead. All manager Terry Francona can do in this situation is lighten the mood as he goes for his third World Series title.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s a really important game,” Francona told Cleveland.com. He also joked about how “I just might wear my uniform home” due to his excitement.

corey-kluberIn reality, this is no joking matter for Cleveland. Game 6 was a disaster from the start after the fly ball botching, to Tomlin loading the bases and Otero giving up the grand slam.

The Indians can still claim the series, though, and they’ll have staff ace Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) trying to make it happen.

The 30-year-old has been worked hard this postseason, starting 5 games and pitching 30.1 innings. He’s 4-1 in those five starts with a marvelous 0.89 ERA.

In his Game 1 and 4 starts against Chicago, he gave up one run in 12 innings. If he can win, Kluber will become just the second pitcher (Bob Gibson, 1967) to win three games in the World Series.

Backing Kluber up will be the outstanding bullpen combo of Andrew Miller (0.53 ERA in playoffs) and Cody Allen (6 saves). From top to bottom, this Cleveland pitching staff is built to win a big game.

History in the Making

This is perhaps the biggest game in World Series history when you consider that the Cubs haven’t won in 107 yards and Cleveland hasn’t won in 67 years. Here’s an excerpt from ESPN that points out how rare this is:

“Obviously, there has never been a World Series Game 7 involving two teams that hadn’t won a championship in a combined 176 years. But what’s amazing is, we’ve seen nothing even close. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the combined droughts of these two teams are nearly double the previous record for any Game 7 — which is the 90 title-free seasons of the 1975 Red Sox and Reds, who also played a seven-game World Series for the history books.”

The pressure is on for both teams to end their win-less streaks. Cleveland has the home field, which will help. But this should come down to a staff-vs-staff pitching duel.

Final Prediction: Indians Win 3-2

How much does Kluber have left? If it’s enough to get Cleveland to the sixth inning with a lead, we see Miller and Allen shutting down the Cubs in a close game. The Indians bats were average last night, but they should provide just enough to give Cleveland their first World Series win since 1948.

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 6

jake-arrieta-vs-indiansHaving lost two straight games at home and on the brink of elimination, the Chicago Cubs needed a big win to extend the World Series. And they did this on Sunday, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, narrowing the series gap to 3-2 as action heads back to Progressive Field.

The Cubs used a 3-run barrage in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They would never relinquish the lead as Jon Lester pitched 6-plus solid innings, and closer Aroldis Chapman got the final eight outs to end the game.

“A lot of people in Chicago have not seen a World Series game win,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, referencing how the Cubs hadn’t won a home World Series game since 1945. “I’m sure it’s emotional for everyone. It’s emotional for us.”

Chicago manager Joe Maddon was caught up in the emotion too, admitting it to the Washington Post after the game.

“Please be nervous,” said Maddon. “Absolutely. You should be nervous. We have to win tonight, so go ahead and be nervous. It’s up to us to get you beyond that moment and get back to Cleveland.”

While this victory is definitely nice for the Cubs, the challenge now is finding a way to win two straight games in Cleveland. That said, let’s go over the line for Game 6 and offer some betting analysis.

GTBets Line for World Series Game 6 (8:05pm EST at Nov 1)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+110), moneyline -145 (J. Arrietta)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (+135), moneyline +135 (J. Tomlin)

Analysis on World Series Game 6

On paper, it appears that Chicago will have the pitching advantage with Jake Arrieta taking the mound. The 2015 Cy Young winner had very good stats this year, going 18-8 and maintaining a 3.10 ERA.

However, Arrieta has struggled in the postseason, losing his first two starts against LA and San Francisco and producing a 5.55 ERA. He managed to right the ship against Cleveland in Game 2, allowing just 1 run in 5.3 innings during Chicago’s win. But he also threw 98 pitches and walked three batters.

More concern for Arrieta is that just 40 percent of his pitches went in the strike zone in Game 2 – his lowest rate all year. But that was a cold-weather game, while tonight will be a warmer affair. Plus, Arrietta has one of the best sliders in baseball, holding opponents to 5-for-25 against this pitch in the postseason.

josh-tomlin-vs-cubsTomlin didn’t have as impressive of regular season numbers, going 13-9 and tallying a 4.40 ERA. But he’s reached a new level in the playoffs, allowing just 3 runs in 15.3 innings. The 32-year-old is undefeated in the 2016 postseason, and he’ll look to keep that record going and close out the series.

The big problem, though, is that this is just the second time in Tomlin’s career that he’s pitched on three days’ rest. During the season, he had a 3.47 ERA with five days or more rest, versus a 5.42 ERA with four days’ rest. That could play a factor tonight as he faces a tough Cubs lineup.

The good news for Tomlin: he had the lowest walk rate among starters and has only given up one homer in his last seven starts. He’s not going to beat himself, and Chicago will need to get their bats going to win.

If Tomlin can pitch well enough into the sixth inning, the Indians’ bullpen – which has been stellar – will have a great chance to close out the game.

World Series Game 6 Betting Prediction: Cleveland Wins 4-3

Both Arrieta and Tomlin pitched excellent in their last outings. We don’t expect as great of pitching tonight, but both players will give their teams a chance to win. The big difference-maker, though, will be Cleveland’s bullpen combo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen shutting Chicago out in the late innings.

The Tribe should be celebrating their first World Series win along with LeBron James, while Chicago will extend their drought to 109 years without a World Series victory.

 

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 5

What looked like a competitive World Series on paper is shaping up to be a blowout as the Cleveland Indians won 7-2 last night to take a 3-1 series lead.

Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an Anthony Rizzo single. But it was all downhill from here for the Cubs, as Cleveland scored the next seven runs to walk away with the game.

First baseman Carlos Santana opened the scoring with a second-inning homer. Pitcher Corey Kluber put Cleveland in the lead for good with a single that sent Lonnie Chrisenhall home.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis put the game away when he hit a line-drive, 3-run homer that gave Cleveland a six-run lead. Chicago’s Dexter Fowler would hit a home run in the eighth inning to stop the bleeding, but it was too little too late.

Aside from providing offense for his own cause, Kluber pitched an excellent game, allowing just 1 run in 6 innings. The bullpen did the rest as Cleveland wrapped up their second straight game in Chicago.

Let’s continue discussing the series by looking at tonight’s Game 5 line, along with some analysis on what to expect.

GTBets Game 5 Line on Indians vs Cubs (8:05pm EST on Oct. 30)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-115), moneyline +200 (T. Bauer)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (-105), moneyline -230 (J. Lester)

World Series Game 5 Preview

corey-kluber-world-seriesFor the Indians, tonight’s game is a matter of doing the same things that they’ve been doing. And this means that Cleveland manager Terry Francona will use normal game preparation that doesn’t include any big speeches.

“No, it might make them nervous,” said Francona. “They’re OK. They know how to play the game. In our game, you can’t meet every night. It’s not like football. If they don’t understand by now, they’re probably not going to. And I think they’re doing just fine.”

Kluber, who was the big winner yesterday, echoed this sentiment by saying that Game 5 will be “business as usual.”

Kipnis is taking a different approach, focusing on the importance of this game and how tough it will be to defeat Chicago three straight times at home.

“It’s not an ending yet,” Kipnis told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve got one more to get. It’s probably going to be the hardest victory of the year. This is a special night for me and the team to take the first two here. Now we have a couple of tries to win one more. But we’re ready to get it. This is the fun one.”

Trevor Bauer will take the mound for Cleveland tonight. He’s the only pitcher to lose to the Cubs in the World Series. But Santana definitely isn’t worried about how Bauer will perform tonight.

“We’re confident, especially how we won in this very tough game,” said Santana. “Lester, he’s throwing very good baseball. He has experience in the World Series. But we’re fine. We’ll worry about tomorrow and try to win the game.”

The Cubs will trot out lefty Jon Lester, who’s hoping to end Chicago’s two-game slide and extend the World Series. Lester’s start in Game 1 was okay – 3 runs on six hits in 5.2 innings – but it still resulted in a 6-0 loss for Chicago.

This was markedly different from his first three postseason starts against San Francisco and LA, where he allowed just 2 runs in 21 innings while recording 14 strikeouts. There’s certainly reason to think that Lester can regain his touch in tonight’s matchup.

jon-lester-vs-indians“Jon is going to give us a good game,” said Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant. “He’s our ace for a reason.”

Another thing that Chicago needs to do better is get runs early in the game, before they fall behind and lose momentum. This is especially important when considering how well Cleveland’s bullpen has performed.

“We’ve just got to grab a lead,” said Chicago manager Joe Maddon. “We’ve got to grab a lead [before] the latter part of the game and avoid those [bullpen] guys with either being tied or them having a lead. That’s what we have to do.”

Chicago has only managed three runs, four walks, and a .292 on-based percentage through the first four innings of the World Series. The fifth inning and beyond has been even worse, with a .259 on-base percentage, so early runs are crucial.

One Team Will Make History

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, while Cleveland hasn’t won in 68 years. For the Indians, they have the added history of trying to bring both a baseball and basketball championship home in the same year.

One of these teams is going to break their winless streak and make history. Before this series, most thought it would be Chicago, given that they won 103 games – 9 more than Cleveland.

But down 3-1 in the series, the Cubs would need a Cleveland Cavaliers-type turnaround to come back and win. Only five of 44 MLB teams have pulled off this feat. Can Chicago become the sixth?

Prediction on World Series Game 5: Cubs Win 4-2

We see Cleveland closing this series out eventually, but it’s hard to see Chicago losing three straight at home, especially with their ace pitching tonight.