Obviously, a World Series Game 1 win would have been better for the Cubs. But when you think about the most likely scenarios in which the Cubs win the World Series, the two most likely both have the Cubs losing Game 1.
One scenario is the Cubs win all the games in which Corey Kluber doesn’t pitch, taking the Series in 6 games. But if you don’t have a midgame lead in Game 6, you’ll be facing a rested Andrew Miller in that game, not what you want.
The other scenario is the Cubs take one of the first two in Cleveland, and win all three home games. In this scenario, the most likely outcome is losing Game 1 (because Kluber is pitching) and winning Game 2.
So what sets you up best for winning Game 2? Making sure Andrew Miller throws a lot of pitches in Game 1. And hope that Game 2 isn’t rescheduled due to rain.
The Cubs definitely accomplished the first part of that. Miller threw 46 pitches in Game 1, more than he’s thrown all season. Plus, they mounted a real scoring threat against him. If they see him in Game 2, they won’t see much of him, and they won’t be intimidated by him. And he may not be as effective, either. The Cubs will be ready to succeed against Miller in Game 2, if they have to.
As for winning Game 4 against Kluber, it will help that they’re at home in Chicago. It will also help that they’d seen a lot of pitches from Kluber just four days before, so they have a better idea what to expect from him. There was some good contact against him in Game 1. They just need a little bit more good contact to start putting up runs.
For the Cubs’ sake, let’s just hope the rain doesn’t cancel Game 2.