The Cubs and Indians can both clinch Monday

The Cubs and Indians can both clinch Monday

SB Nation: NFL

Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the Cubs and Indians attempt to move on to their respective LCS, as well as the Blue Jays defeat of the Rangers.

Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.

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The Cubs are up two games to none over the Giants in their NLDS. The Indians are up two games to none over the Red Sox in the remaining ALDS, as rain on Sunday held Cleveland back from their opportunity to clinch or for Boston to win their first game of the series. On Monday, though, both series will be played, and both Chicago and Cleveland now have a chance to clinch and make it to their league’s respective championship series. That would put us one step closer to a Cubs-Indians World Series — which, as devotees will recall, is the best possible World Series matchup we can have this fall. Of course, fans of either team won’t take their current leads for granted, so the focus today is on, well, today.

The Red Sox and Indians face off at 6 p.m. ET in Boston, with the former sending Clay Buchholz to the mound to attempt to force a Game 4 while Cleveland counters with Josh Tomlin to try to earn ALCS entry. The Indians narrowly won Game 1 thanks to some nifty bullpen usage, but Game 2 was all Cleveland from the start. If you’re somehow wondering why Indians fans might not take this lead for granted, please recall that, in addition to the franchise’s streak of not winning a World Series since 1948, the last two times the Red Sox and Indians faced each other in the playoffs were Boston victories that came following 2-0 and 3-1 Cleveland leads. Now, there’s little connection to the previous series on the present rosters, but still: nagging, pit-in-stomach feelings don’t need to be rational ones.

The Cubs can tell you something about that, as leads like this one will feel like the setup to a punchline that hasn’t been told yet until Chicago manages to actually win it all for the first time since 1908 — especially when their opponent is the Giants of even-year fame. It’s all superstition, sure, and won’t have an actual impact on the series, but, like with the Red Sox streak of failure from 1919 until 2004, sometimes its easier to be superstitious than it is to admit that your team spent a century running itself like they deserved to lose. The Cubs aren’t run that way anymore, so we shouldn’t be surprised if things are different for them this time around. This is the playoffs, though, where just about anything can happen in a short series, too, so we shouldn’t be surprised if that "anything" doesn’t benefit the Cubs despite their current 2-0 lead, either.

Baseball sure is fun and not at all mean-spirited and hateful, huh?

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