The League Championship Series start tonight on MLB Network Radio and that means we’re one step closer (potentially) to any one of these teams breaking very long World Series streaks. Toronto was the last team of this final quad to have won the Fall Classic. The Blue Jays won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, the LA Dodgers haven’t been to the Series since Kirk Gibson’s famous homer back in 1988 and, well, as for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians? Let’s not get into the decades-old droughts those two squads have endured. Cleveland, of course, advanced to the World Series twice in the 1990s –only to lose 4-1 against Atlanta in 1995 and 4-3 to the then Florida Marlins in 1997. For the Cubbies? Well, they got manhandled by the New York Mets in last season’s NLCS (only the North Siders third Championship Series appearance in the past 30-some years.)
ALCS: Toronto vs Cleveland
Neither team has lost even once this postseason. Both squads lit up their respective opponents in the ALDS and got the brooms out. Toronto in particular looked nigh invulnerable throughout their demolition of the Texas Rangers. For Cleveland, the team’s beginning to look more and more like a complete squad from top to bottom. Lights-out pitching, scary baserunning, power hitters, great fielding? To paraphrase Monta Ellis “Cleveland have it all.” The Tribe hold home-field advantage throughout the ALCS and a rowdy Progressive Field is where opposing pitchers’ confidence has gone to die this season. Still, Toronto’s manager, John Gibbons, likes his team’s chances:
Prediction: Cleveland has the bats and the pitching to go far. They didn’t win 94 games this season as a fluke, but Toronto has looked invincible this postseason. Blue Jays head to the World Series after an epic, seven-game Championship Series. Sorry, Cleveland fans, you’ll have to be happy with that Cavs title back in June.
NLCS: Los Angeles vs Chicago
Where to begin? The Dodgers just capped an improbable win against the Nationals last night and have to be ready for Game 1 at Wrigley tomorrow night. Here’s Adam Schein breaking down what an amazing effort the Ddogers gave just to get here.
Will they have enough left in the tank to compete with this version of the Cubs? A Cubs squad that has learned the painful lessons of the postseason all too well after last year’s self-destruction against the Mets? Probably not, but that’s why they play the games. For the Cubs? Keep doing what you’re doing. And by that I mean cranking homers and leaving opposing batters what they just experienced at home plate. The Cubs have the deepest rotation left in the postseason and also the most prolific offense left. If there was ever a year for the Cubbies to reverse a century and change of bad luck, it’s this one.
Prediction: The Chicago Cubs will advance to their first World Series since the 1940s in five games.