Stellar pitching and some clutch hitting powered the Cleveland Indians' 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. Back in the dugouts the teams' respective managers, Terry Francona and Joe Maddon, are also playing integral roles throughout this series.
A lot of pressure will be on both men, and their starkly different managerial styles will be open to ultimate scrutiny.
Francona: He played nine years in the majors in the '80s, and transitioned to managing in 1997. After four years with the Phillies, he led the Red Sox to two World Series titles in the aughts, and is in the mix for another one in his fourth year in Cleveland.
Maddon: After a brief minor-league career, he worked up through the Angels organization for more than 30 years as a scout, bench coach, first base coach, and interim manager before becoming the Tampa Bay manager in 2006. This is his second season with the youthful Cubs, who had the best record in the majors at 103-58.
Francona: His strength in a traditional strategy with his lineup. Once he finds a formula that works, he sticks to it -- barring injuries. This could mean Game 1 ace Corey Kluber could pitch three times if the series goes to seven games.
Maddon: Look for more shifts to his lineup from game to game. With arguably the deepest pitching roster in baseball to work with, these moves provide a different pace. Pinch hitter Willson Contreras nearly hit a home run to give the Cubs some late life.
Francona: He has his go-to options in his bullpen with setup man Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen. As shown in Game 1, his Miller was free to pitch deeper into the game than he would in the regular season. We know it paid off.
Maddon: Look for a much closer matchup game with his relievers. It’s not unheard of for Maddon to bring on a pitcher for only one batter in order to get the matchup he wants, and he burned through five pitchers over eight innings in Game 1. Unfortunately, they were playing from behind for the whole game.
Maddon: Sensing a pattern? He shifts his flexible position players throughout a game, sometimes even mid-inning. This allows Maddon many defensive options and versatility.
Francona: Arguably he's more frugal with his fielding changes. Francona focuses on building his players’ strengths to help them succeed in a specified position.
Francona's tried-and-true strategy worked well in Game 1 because his pitchers were masterful. Kluber struck out nine and scattered four hits over six shutout innings, and catcher Roberto Perez hit two home runs to lead Cleveland's offensive attack. Francona's team stamina will determine how well this approach holds up -- plus, he's got history on his side. Maddon's squad might be better equipped to handle a long series, but they have to start winning to make that a reality.