We're barrelling headlong toward Game 1 of the 2016 World Series between the visiting Cubs and host Indians. To set the scene in a different sort of way, please regard the following tweet regarding Game 1 plate umpire Larry Vanover ...

So we're possibly in for a hitter's zone on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

During the 2016 regular season, Vanover spent 565 2/3 innings behind the plate. Here's how pitchers fared with him behind the plate relative to the MLB averages for 2016 (data via Baseball Prospectus) ...

K/BB ratio
Vanover 2.25 3.93 1.29
MLB average
2.58 4.18 1.33

As you can see, Vanover was a bit more hitter-friendly at the level of strikeouts and walks and a bit more pitcher-friendly at the level of earned runs and baserunners. Bear in mind, though, we're talking about a span of 32 games behind the plate for Vanover in 2016, so the qualities of the pitcher and the offense involved definitely affect the numbers and may not balance out over that span.

As for the two starting pitchers in question -- Jon Lester of the Cubs and Corey Kluber of the Indians -- Vanover's been behind the plate for one Lester start this season and none of Kluber's outings. The Lester start was on July 9 in Pittsburgh, and it turned out to be one of the worst starts of the season for the veteran lefty: 3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 SO, 3 BB, 2 HR. Via Brooks Baseball, here are Vanover's zones from that game for all left-handed and right-handed batters ...


Yes, you see a handful of balls off the plate called strikes, but a bigger factor seems to be pitches within the zone called balls, especially to right-handed batters. That squares with the tweet at top and with the K/BB ratio we've seen from Vanover this season.

In other words, some glares from the mound might be directed toward Vanover during the course of Game 1.