One saw its lengthy championship drought come to an end in Game 7, while the other was left clinging to the all-too-familiar “Wait ’til next year” refrain.
But for the Indians and Cubs, the future looks bright regardless of how Game 7 turned out Wednesday night and in spite of their respective tortured histories. For sports bettors there’s news, sportsbooks are already looking ahead to next season and odds for the 2017 World Series have been set, and no shock, the Cubs are favored to win it all again in next season. Oddsmakers set odds in the preseason and adjust them during the year to reflect the strength or weakness of teams. There is a bright future for these teams and also for sports bettors.
“I think it’s kind of lived up to the billing,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the series. “I love the fact that there are a lot of good young players on both teams. It’s great for the industry. It’s great for baseball.”
The Cubs’ lineup includes six regulars age 26 or younger, including four no older than 24. Not only are they young; they’re good, too.
Kris Bryant (24) is the frontrunner for the National League’s MVP award, while Addison Russell (22), Willson Contreras (24) and Javier Baez (23) have come into their own during this postseason run.
Throw in Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward — both considered wily veterans at the ripe-old age of 26 — and returning slugger Kyle Schwarber (23), and you have a formula for extended success.
Oh, and none is eligible for free agency until at least 2021.
The Indians are also front-loaded with young stars. Francisco Lindor (22) already holds the title of the team’s best player, while fellow infielder Jose Ramirez (23) proved to be one of Cleveland’s most impactful players this season.
“I do think we feel good that our organization is pretty healthy, just because of the guys that are under contract and where they are in their careers,” manager Terry Francona said.
Unlike the Cubs, who rely on an older pitching staff (Game 7 starter Kyle Hendricks, 26, is their lone starter under 30), the Indians have three members of their rotation in their twenties: Danny Salazar (26), Carlos Carrasco (29) and Trevor Bauer (25), while ace Corey Kluber is only 30. Relievers Bryan Shaw (28) and Cody Allen (27) are also in the under-30 demographic.
“As long as you have pitching, you seem like you always have a chance,” Francona said.
The grind of October has taught players on both teams how to handle the most pressure-packed moments the game has to offer, not to mention pacing themselves through an extra month of action following the grueling 162-game schedule.
“I think we can take a lot from the way we approached it, and not treating it more than just each game is another game and trying to go out and win that day,” Kluber said. “Not trying to look too far ahead or things like that. I think there’s value to taking that approach throughout the course of a season, too.”
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