STAFF PICKS

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD SERIES -

Ed­uardo A. Encina, Ori­oles beat writer: This World Se­ries has the mak­ings of one to re­mem­ber, not just be­cause one long-suf­fer­ing fan base will fi­nally find cham­pi­onship glory, but be­cause two of the game’s best man­agers — the Cubs’ Joe Mad­don and the In­di­ans’ Terry Fran­cona — will square off in a chess match. The game within the game will be in­ter­est­ing to fol­low. It’s hard to go against an In­di­ans team that has gone 7-1 this post­sea­son, owns a 1.77 post­sea­son ERA and pos­sesses the best weapon in re­liever An­drew Miller, a for­mer Ori­ole. But after win­ning three straight to win the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries, there’s some­thing about th­ese Cubs — with a lineup led by young­sters Javier Baez and Ad­di­son Rus­sell — that in­di­cates they don’t quite re­al­ize the mag­ni­tude of what they can ac­com­plish, which is a pow­er­ful thing head­ing into the bright spot­light of the World Se­ries. Cubs in 7. Jon Me­oli, Ori­oles re­porter: With the way Chicago is swing­ing the bat, the In­di­ans’ thin ro­ta­tion will be tested. The best team rarely wins in base­ball, but this Cubs team is break­ing a ton of stig­mas this year. This will be the last one. Cubs in 6.

Peter Sch­muck, Ori­oles colum­nist: I didn’t pick the In­di­ans in ei­ther of the first two play­off se­ries, so why start now? They’ve been sit­ting around for a week and the Cubs just closed out the NLCS on an of­fen­sive roll. If that was Jon Lester’s NLCS, this will be for­mer Ori­ole Jake Ar­ri­eta’s World Se­ries. And Cubs fans can feel sorry for the rest of us for a change. Cubs in 6. Josh Land, Ori­oles editor: It makes it all the tougher when the In­di­ans keep prov­ing you wrong, beat­ing one bet­ter team after an­other de­spite be­ing se­verely short-handed. But that run will end here. The Cubs were the best team in base­ball this sea­son, and after be­ing on cruise con­trol go­ing into the play­offs, have found a way to turn it back on to roll to their first World Se­ries since 1945. They don’t have a glar­ing weak­ness and buried the Dodgers with ease after a two-game of­fen­sive blip. The Cubs have waited a long time to call them­selves cham­pi­ons, but that wait is about to be over. Cubs in 6.

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