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Neither the Cubs nor Indians have been whole, but they both managed to make it to the World Series in spite of this. Now, with just the two of them left to face off and determine 2016’s champion, each team could get an important player back just in time to possibly tip the scales. The Cubs haven’t had Kyle Schwarber since he collided with Dexter Fowler in his second game of the season, while the Indians made it this far in the postseason without Danny Salazar, who suffered an elbow strain in mid-September — Cleveland didn’t go with rookie Ryan Merritt in Game 5 of the ALCS because they were looking for a great story, you know?
Salazar is throwing simulated games, and could be added to the Indians’ roster either to start Game 4 or to be used as a reliever. Either would be helpful, especially if Salazar is capable of pitching with any length out of the pen. There are concerns, though, as he’s not throwing his curveball, so asking him to start with a diminished repertoire is probably asking for trouble. On the other hand, though, the Cubs, like any playoff team checking on potential opponents, certainly were able to scout Ryan Merritt in a way that the Blue Jays did not, so maybe Salazar — who had a 121 ERA+ this year with well over 10 strikeouts per nine — is the best option regardless.
Schwarber was added to the Arizona Fall League over the weekend while the Cubs wrapped up against the Dodgers, and now he might be added to Chicago’s roster. Given he hasn’t played much of late while recovering from his serious knee injury, he would be limited to pinch-hitting and DH duties were he to join the Cubs, but that’s not a negative. Schwarber, who hit 16 homers in 69 games as a rookie in 2015, is capable of getting a hold of a pitch and sending it into orbit, and the rusty version of him might have a better shot at something like this than whatever version of Jason Heyward this is we’re seeing right now. It’s going to be something when pinch-hitting Schwarber has to face relieving Salazar with one of these games on the line, isn’t it?
- Jason Kipnis suffered a minor ankle sprain while celebrating the Indians’ ALCS victory over the Blue Jays, but he’s expected to be ready to go for Game 1.
- It’ll be Corey Kluber getting the Game 1 start for the Indians. Everything after that is somewhat up in the air, thanks to Salazar and Trevor Bauer’s pinkie.
- As you can imagine, Cubs fans celebrated making it to the organization’s first World Series since 1945.
- Red Sox scouting director Amiel Sawdaye — read: the guy responsible for many of those young players that are so important to Boston — could leave for the Diamondbacks’ assistant GM job instead of taking the Sox’ GM job. Or he could go to the Twins for something bigger than either of those roles.
- The Yankees trading from a position of strength is riskier than it seems — remember that during all these Brian McCann rumors.
- Alex Rodriguez wrote about how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought hope back to the Cubs. Yes, that Alex Rodriguez.
- Hillary Clinton is a native Chicagoan, so the New York Times investigated whether she’s a Cubs’ fan. I can sympathize with any criticism she’ll get from this, as I’m a fan of a team in each league, too. It’s allowed, OK?
- Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman were teammates to begin the year, and now they’re the most important relievers on competing World Series teams.