By Doran Grieshaber, Sports Writer
The second round of the MLB playoffs got underway last week which means that only four teams remain to contend for a World Series title. The last remaining clubs are the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League, and the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are still alive in the National League. Every team still in it is looking to end a long drought without winning the World Series, especially the Indians and Cubs.
In the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers and Cubs are facing off in a series currently tied 1-1. The Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants in five games in the NLDS and the Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals, also in five games. The Cubs won the first game of the series 8-4, but the Dodgers tied it up Sunday night with a spectacular performance by Clayton Kershaw in a 1-0 victory. Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings, with the only run of the game coming off of a solo homerun by Adrian Gonzalez. Kenley Jansen also got his third save of this postseason.
The Cubs are the current favorite, as they finished the regular season with the best record in baseball. Chicago has a long list of young talent in their lineup, and also has plenty of pitching with Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and Kyle Hendricks in the rotation. They also have Aroldis Chapman at the back of the bullpen. The Cubs are in desperate need of a World Series, as they currently have the longest title draught in North American sports, going without a title since 1908. The Dodgers have also not won a World Series since 1988. The series continues later this week.
On the American League side, the Indians currently hold a 2-0 series lead over the Blue Jays. Both teams swept their ALDS opponents, with Toronto getting the sweep over Texas, and Cleveland getting the sweep over Boston. The Indians are down two of their top starters in Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, but Andrew Miller has been lights out in the bullpen. Miller, who the Indians acquired at the trade deadline, struck out five batters in two innings and has been making hitters look foolish this entire postseason.
These two teams have also had a long draught since their last World Series title, with Toronto’s coming in 1993 and Cleveland’s dating all the way back to 1948. Cleveland took the first two games of the ALCS 2-0 and 2-1. The Indians have one five playoff games in a row, which has never happened in the history of their franchise. Now that LeBron James and the Cavaliers have snapped the city’s championship draught, perhaps the Indians can make it two in one year. The series resumes in Toronto on Monday the 18th, where the Blue Jays look to rekindle their generally extremely hot offense. Toronto looks to claw their way back into the series before Cleveland puts them down three games to none.
Regardless of who wins the World Series this year, it will be a team that has been waiting a long time for it. This is also the first year that the World Series won’t feature Saint Louis, Kansas City, or San Francisco in quite a few seasons. With so many fresh faces in the Championship Series, it will be hard to predict what will happen this year. Anything can happen in postseason baseball, so any of the remaining four teams still have a good shot at taking it all.