The Cubs picked up Aroldis Chapman and the Indians traded for Andrew Miller, both from the Yankees. Both teams were also unafraid to turn to relievers to eat up innings, as 38 percent of all innings pitched by Cubs in the postseason were by relievers, and 47 percent for the Indians.
By Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), the Cubs and Indians had the two best bullpens in the 2016 second half of any playoff team that made it past the wild card, which culminated in a World Series meeting. What set the Cubs and Indians apart from other teams with top-tier bullpens that made early playoff exits is the way the ‘pens were used.
Cleveland and Chicago were unafraid to pitch their best relievers frequently and for long outings. The Cubs’ Chapman registered 15 2/3 innings pitched during the playoffs, while Miller threw 19 1/3 innings for the Indians. Miller pitched more than one inning in every appearance in the 2016 postseason, and Chapman made the longest appearance of his career in Game 5 of the World Series, retiring eight batters.
With that, they’ve opened up a possibility that seemed remote for most of the past year, that we won’t see a fourth straight Warriors-Cavs NBA Finals, that other teams in the woebegone East have a fighting chance of knocking off James and whomever he is calling his teammates next spring.
Yes, there is a chance next season — the regular season, no less! — could be interesting. Imagine that.
Certainly, the Celtics, with the addition of All-Star wing Gordon Hayward, are best positioned to take advantage of the Cavaliers’ turmoil. They beat out Cleveland in the regular season, of course, but were thwacked by the Cavs in the conference finals. Irving averaged 25.8 points in that series and Wholesale NFL Jerseys Free Shipping shot, incredibly, 62.2 percent from the field. Dump Irving, and the Celtics have that much better a chance of US Cheap Jerseys Club beating Cleveland.