Cutler for MVP? The chatter's already started


Cutler for MVP? The chatter's already started

With a huge acknowledging nod to the defense, the Bears are 27-10 in Jay Cutlers last 37 starts, which is predictably creating starts of its own, as in mutterings about Cutler as a possible MVP candidate.

Sports Illustrateds Peter King in todays Monday Morning Quarterback listed among things he liked in week 12:

h. Jay Cutler. If we define "value'' in "Most Valuable Player'' as someone whose loss would totally deflate and screw up his team, then Cutler has to be in the running for the award.

Not to be outdone, Eric Adelson over at Yahoo Sports posited that Cutler deserves serious consideration for the MVP award. (Eric and Peter appear to have just joined the program already in progress and might want to put on the Tennessee red zone and Houston reels just for balance.)

The bases for the awards are simply that the Bears would be have been abysmal without Cutler. Which may be a true testament to how bad Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie were and Jason Campbell was in one game, although Josh McCown was 1-1 in his two starts last season even being sacked seven times in Minnesota.

The problem with that thinking is that the Indianapolis Colts were 2-14 sans Peyton Manning last season. Does anyone really see the Atlanta Falcons at 10-1 with the other McCown (Luke) at quarterback? The Giants even in a Super Bowl discussion behind David Carr?

Not to dismiss the importance of what Cutler has done and is doing with the offense (although the passing offense did rank 30th in the NFL before Campbell ever took a snap). But with the paucity of quality quarterbacks in the NFL, rare is the team that doesnt spiral downward without its No. 1 quarterback. Theyre all borderline MVPs on their teams.

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

CLEVELAND — The Cubs are a team that can make it hard to focus with so many big-money players running around, so much young talent bubbling up, all of Joe Maddon’s antics and ultimately so many different ways to beat their opponent.

That’s how Jake Arrieta going for a no-hitter in the World Series sort of became an afterthought on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. After getting shut out in Game 1, the Cubs lineup kept extending innings, making these Cleveland Indians pitchers work. Kyle Schwarber’s at-bats are becoming must-see TV more than six months after shredding his left knee. Honestly, Arrieta hasn’t been giving off that same best-pitcher-on-the-planet aura.

But this is exactly what a Cy Young Award winner is supposed to do, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, shutting down the Indians in a 5-1 win and tying up this Fall Classic before Wrigley Field stages its first World Series game in 71 years on Friday night.

Arrieta had a 1-0 lead before he threw his first pitch in Game 2, working around back-to-back walks to Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli in the first inning and breathing a sigh of relief when Jose Ramirez drove a flyball out to the warning track in center field. Instead of those command issues signaling trouble, Arrieta got locked back in, retiring eight batters in a row from there, and 13 of the next 14, the Indians managing only two hits in the sixth inning.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

If the Indians are planning to start Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber two more times on short rest in this best-of-seven matchup — and unleash lefty reliever Andrew Miller at the most crucial moments — then the Cubs will need Arrieta to pitch like an ace.

Mission accomplished, even though Arrieta didn’t put a third no-hitter on his resume. Jason Kipnis — the Glenbrook North High School graduate who grew up a Cubs fan — ended Arrieta’s no-hit bid with one out in the sixth inning. Kipnis hit a ball into right-center field and hustled for a double, sliding headfirst into second base and eventually scoring on an Arrieta wild pitch.

Maddon gave Arrieta one more batter and pulled him after 98 pitches. If there were times last year where it felt like Arrieta had to be a one-man team, the Cubs now have an unrelenting lineup, the best defense in the game and a multidimensional bullpen, more than enough to win their first World Series since 1908.

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

CLEVELAND - The Cubs called their shot again.

The week after showing no sense of panic after being shut out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in back-to-back NLCS games, the Cubs once again exuded a calm confidence after running into the brick wall of the Cleveland Indians pitching to start the World Series.

From Joe Maddon to Anthony Rizzo to David Ross, the Cubs felt they had some nice at-bats against the Indians' best pitchers - Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen - but just couldn't score and predicted runs would be coming.

They were right, getting men on base early and often to win their first World Series game since 1945, a 5-1 victory over the Indians in front of 38,172 fans at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

The Cubs continued the trend of winning when scoring first as Rizzo drove home Kris Bryant with an RBI double in the top of the first inning.

From there, the Cubs added a solo tally in the third on Kyle Schwarber's RBI single and then broke out for three in the fifth on a Ben Zobrist triple, another Schwarber single and then an Addison Russell bases-loaded walk.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

The Cubs could've had more, leaving 13 on base in the first seven innings against starter Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen. The Cubs didn't go down in order until the top of the eighth. 

It was still all the offense Jake Arrieta needed as the reigning National League Cy Young winner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Jason Kipnis doubled with one out.

Kipnis was the only Indians run of the game, scoring on a wild pitch two batters later.

Arrieta struck out six in 5.2 innings, surrendering only two hits, three walks and the solo tally.

The outing lowered Arrieta's 2016 postseason ERA to 3.78 and gave him his first victory this October.

Game 2 was moved up an hour because of impending rain and the move by Major League Baseball paid off as the Cubs and Indians didn't have to worry about any suspended game drama.

The two teams travel to Chicago for Games 3, 4 and 5 at Wrigley Field over the weekend.

Kyle Hendricks and Josh Tomlin will go in Game 3 Friday evening with the World Series now tied.