Given the youth on the Chicago Cubs roster, it seems unlikely that fans will have to wait for 71 years for their team to make another World Series appearance.
According to the postgame World Series notes, the Cubs’ starting lineup in Game 2 included six players under the age of 25: Kris Bryant (24), Willson Contreras (24), Jorge Soler (24), Kyle Schwarber (23), Javier Baez (23) and Addison Russell (22). That is a new World Series record for a team. The old record was five, which had been done by eight teams.
The last? The Cincinnati Reds in Game 4 of the 1970 World Series.
Those players were: center fielder Bobby Tolan (24), catcher Johnny Bench (23), left fielder Bernie Carbo (23), shortstop Dave Concepcion (22) and pitcher Gary Nolan (22). The Reds lost that World Series to the Baltimore Orioles in five games.
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But two of the players (Bench and Concepcion) were key cogs in the Big Red Machine, which made six playoff appearances, winning four National League pennants and two World Series titles.
Perhaps this is the start of the Big Blue Machine? Ah, someone will come up with a better nickname than that.
Here are more nuggets from the World Series notes:
▪ Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery (the former Royals prospect) threw two scoreless innings, permitting two hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Montgomery was the second Cubs reliever to pitch at least two scoreless innings with at least four strikeouts in a World Series game. The other was Pat Malone in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Malone threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up a hit, walked four and struck out four.
▪ Cubs starter Jake Arrieta did not allow a hit over his first 5 1/3 innings, the longest no-hit bid in a World Series game since the Mets’ Jerry Koosman in Game 2 in 1969. He threw 6 no-hit innings.
▪ Of the previous 57 times that a World Series has been tied at 1-1, the winner of Game 2 has ended up winning the Series 29 times (50.9 percent). Since 1993, it’s happened just 20 percent of the time (2 of 10): the 2002 Angels and 2009 Yankees. The 1993 Phillies, 1997 Indians, 2003 Yankees, 2006 Tigers, 2008 Rays, 2011 Rangers, 2013 Cardinals and 2014 Royals each won Game 2, but lost the Series.
▪ There were three wild pitches in Wednesday’s game one by the Cubs’ Arrieta and Montgomery, and the Indians’ Bryan Shaw. It was the fifth World Series game with three wild pitches. The others: 1982 Game 6 (St. Louis vs. Milwaukee); 1992 Game 2 (Toronto vs. Atlanta); 2001 Game 3 (Arizona vs. New York Yankees); and 2006 Game 5 (St. Louis vs. Detroit). Each of those games had three wild pitches as well.
▪ Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman was the first Cuban left-hander to pitch in the World Series since Mike Cuellar for Baltimore in Game 7 of the 1971 World Series.
▪ The Cubs are 7-1 in this year’s playoffs when scoring first and were 73-20 in the regular season.