Can Anyone Beat the Cubs?
The Chicago Cubs had to wait 108 long years to win World Series in 2016 by beating the Cleveland Indians in the season finale. The Cubs were almost instantly installed as favourites to make it back-to-back world titles.
The odds are against them, however, as only two teams since have won consecutive World Series in the past four decades but the Cubs do appear to have the ammunition to do it.
After an inconsistent start to the campaign they currently sit third in the National League Central. That said the top four teams are separated by just one-and-a-half games and so it is all still to play for.
Left fielder Kyle Schwarber is back from a knee injury that ruled him out of last season and has already clubbed five home runs and has 14 RBIs to his name.
He did recover to star in the World Series victory but, having the slugger fit for 162 games will be like a new signing for the Wrigley Field outfit.
Third baseman Kris Bryant hit 39 homers and 102 RBIs last term and leads the team with seven long balls to date.
His form will be key to the Cubs’ chances of making it back to the season finale in October.
Anthony Rizzo was another with triple figure RBIs in 2016 and has 19 to his name in the early part of the season.
With six home runs under his belt he looks set for another stellar campaign, while Ben Zobrist has been steady, if unspectacular with the bat.
His early-season ERA is slightly up on last year but, as ever, he has mostly kept the ball in the park with just one home run given up to date.
Left-handed Cubs hero John Lester needs no to introduction to supporters and it goes without saying his form will be crucial.
John Lackey on the other hand is now 38 and, despite many pundits are suggesting that his best form is behind him, he continues to defy his critics.
Kyle Hendricks is coming off his best season, with an MLB-leading ERA of just 2.13 en route to the World Series.
That said his stats don’t match up to last year but you’ve got to think that his exceptional talent will propel the Cubs forward as the campaign continues.
Another one who had an outstanding 2016 and is struggling to recoup his form is Jake Arrieta.
However, there’s no doubting that collectively no one can beat the Cubs on the day. MLB prediction experts Free Super Tips seem to agree, as do many of the pundits.
The Cubs have the tools to go all the way and repeat last year’s success but pitching looks to be an issue at the minute and they may be forced to make a trade or two as the season unwinds if they want to stay in contention to claim the spoils.