Kyle Schwarber is amazing. We all knew this before the World Series, but it rings especially true now. After having only 5 at bats in the regular season, all of them prior to his ACL injury on April 7th, he entered the World Series with a .000 batting average. And then, SCHWARBER SMASH. He hits a double off of the nearly unhittable Kluber in game 1. Then, War Bear shows up in game 2, and he contributes 2 RBI singles. He also became the first player in baseball history to record his first hit of the season in the World Series. Like I said, the guy is amazing.
But what I didn’t like was all the talk about how the Cubs should have him play in the outfield at Wrigley. Now, this can’t happen since today he had a visit with his doctor who would not clear him to play in the field, but even if he had been cleared I would not be a fan of this decision.
Kyle Schwarber is a well below average outfielder when healthy. What I got from watching him in the first 2 games of the series while he was on base is; he’s not 100%. And he probably shouldn’t be, the guy tore his freaking ACL 6 months ago. The point is, he won’t be able to run well and he hasn’t attempted to play defense in over 6 months. That is a combination that just screams disaster. He would end up mis-playing a ball and costing the Cubs a game, and I don’t want that on this young man’s shoulders. The risk is just too high, and the reward of his bat in the lineup just isn’t enough. He is best suited as a pinch hitter at Wrigley.
Now, on to Andrew Miller.
Miller has been incredible this post season. He has set the Major League record for consecutive innings pitched without allowing a run to start a post season career. To say he has been dominant is the understatement of the century. But there is one thing people don’t seem to mention that could certainly com into play at Wrigley Field.
Pitchers have to hit for themselves. Francona and the Indians have been using Miller masterfully, sometimes for 2 or 3 innings, and that is great– when you play in the AL. In reality, there is a decent chance that if Miller is going to make another one of these long appearances in the next 3 games that he will have to hit for himself, and I wonder how Tito will handle that.
Now, I’m not saying that this is absolutely going to make a difference, but it is certainly something to keep your eye out for. I’m interested as to if Francona will be able to use Miller like he has up until this point in the playoffs. Another thing that could pay off for the Cubs is that in game 1, everyone faced Miller and we had relative success off of him. Now, the Cubs didn’t score off of him, but they put up a couple of hits and drew a couple of walks. It is, at the very least, encouraging.
Overall, I’m feeling good about the first 2 games. Sure, it isn’t good to get shut out in the World Series, but the guys responded well and really took it to the Indians in game 2. Let’s hope the momentum will carry over to Chicago, and I am confident that it will.