Now that the 2016 World Series is over and the Chicago Cubs 108-year drought is over, let’s take a deeper look as to why this year was truly the year.
The Chicago Cubs used their whole 25-man roster to help them get over the hump and vanquish the Indians. For instance, in game seven alone, Chicago used three catchers in the 10-inning ball game, all of whom contributed to the victory with an RBI, capped off by the game-winning RBI by Miguel Montero. In crunch time, teams usually shorten their bench, not lengthen it.
The formula Cleveland used to be successful this postseason involved using six pitchers. This worked in the shorter first-round and five-game league championship victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, but wouldn’t work against the much deeper and well-rounded Chicago Cubs in a grueling hard-fought seven-game series. Their pitchers didn’t have enough pitches left in their arms in November, after the grind of the 162-game schedule and playoffs, to hold up in a seven-game grudge match. Cory Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen all appeared to be a little worn out in game seven.
The same can be said for Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman, who gave up three runs in the eighth, allowing the Indians to tie the game at six. However, he was able to rebound and shut down Cleveland in the ninth, allowing his offense to regain momentum and score the Championship clinching runs in the 10th inning, the first of which was scored by possibly the 25th man on the postseason roster, rookie reserve outfielder Albert Almora Junior who spent most of the season playing for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa. Almora’s decision to tag up on Kris Bryant’s deep fly ball to centerfield set up the whole 10th inning rally, forcing Cleveland to walk Anthony Rizzo, followed by the two RBI hits by Ben Zobrist and the aforementioned Montero.
Yet another example of how the Cubs won this championship using their depth, not just their stars.