The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians split the first two games of the 2016 World Series, but one team seems to have the clear edge heading into Game 3. Chicago is favored in Friday night’s contest at Wrigley Field, and they have a good chance to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Cubs seized the momentum with a Game 2 victory. They began the series as heavy favorites to win the championship, and that remains the case before Game 3. The visiting Indians are +185 underdogs on Friday, via Bovada.lv, and they have the same odds to win the Fall Classic. Chicago has -210 betting odds to win Game 3, and they are -225 favorites for the series.
Sending the MLB leader in ERA to the mound in Game 3, Chicago has the clear edge in starting pitching. Kyle Hendricks will make his World Series debut, having posted a 2.13 ERA in the regular season for the Cubs. The right-hander has been even better in the playoffs, pitching to a 1.65 ERA in three starts.
Josh Tomlin gets the call for Cleveland, and he’s been good (2-0, 2.53 ERA) in two playoff starts for the Indians. But Tomlin’s best might not be good enough to compete with Hendricks.
Hendricks gave up one run in 12.1 innings in the NLCS, including 7.1 shutout innings in the series clincher when he faced the minimum number of batters. The Indians could struggle, in part because most of the lineup has never even faced Hendricks. Coco Crisp is the only Cleveland hitter who’s gotten an at-bat this postseason that has faced the Cubs’ starter in his career. Crisp is 0-3 against Hendricks.
Kyle Schwarber was one of Chicago’s best hitters in the first two games of the series, but he won’t start in Game 3. Schwarber reached base safely five times in nine plate appearances as a DH, but he still hasn’t been cleared to play the outfield. When the 23-year-old played in Game 1, it was his first game since April 7 when he tore his ACL.
Chicago’s only loss this postseason at Wrigley Field came in Game 2 of the NLCS when Clayton Kershaw tossed a shutout. The Cubs have outscored their opponents 19-6 in their four other home playoff games. Chicago led MLB with a 57-34 home record in the regular season, and Wrigley Field promises to be an extremely difficult place to play now that the Cubs are three victories away from winning their first title in 108 years.
Game 3 is set to begin at 8 p.m. EDT on FOX. Fans that can’t watch the contest on TV can see it with a free live stream online with FOX Sports Go.
Prediction: Chicago over Cleveland, 5-1