As I write this the cubs come in at a stellar 94-55, meaning that if they play .500 ball the rest of the year they’ll finish with 100 wins, and if they continue at their current pace they’ll win 103. Despite their record many have asked whether the cubs are simply a pretty good team benefiting from a week national league (focused on the central), or if they are really that good.
Part 1: The competition
The Cardinals (78-71), the Pirates (74-75), the Brewers (68-82), and the Reds (63-85) round out the cubs division, and the first thing you notice is that nobody is close to catching the Cubs. Upon first glance the division isn’t that good especially considering the cardinals were supposed to be really good and the Pirates have underperformed a bit. The Cubs, however, have owned this division with a record of 41-22 which is only bested by the Nats who are 48 and 22 in the NL east which is very comparable to the NL Central in quality. This brings up the next point which is that the Nats have done a bit better in a division that is marginally worse than the central at the back end, but are still 6.5 games behind the Cubs. No other team is even close expect Texas. People also argue that it’s a down year for other National league teams like the Marlins and the Dbacks and this brings the Cubs record up a bit. This is unfair because every year there are some bad teams, that’s just how it works, especially given that the same is true of teams like the Royals in the AL.
Part 2: The Guys
The Cubs have the scariest lineup in baseball in my opinion. The only teams that are close are Texas and Washington (who has Danny Espinosa hitting eight!). The lineup with Fowler, Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrist, Russel, Montero, and Heyward is hard to beat not to mention their pitching staff featuring last years cy Young award winner (Arrieta), a candidate this year (Hendricks), as well as the “forgotten” men, Lackey, Lester, and Hammel. Finally, an already fairly solid bull penn just gets better now that it is anchored by the fireballing Aroldis Chapman.
Part 3: Anything else
The Cubs have stayed miraculously uninjured (all their starters have pitched 27 games) which is crazy, see the Mets, and other than Schwarber their lineup is pretty much intact.
The Cubs are freakin good, like scary good, like my pick to break the curse good. They may be a little lucky with injuries and strength of schedule, but which good team isn’t.