3/29/18

Cubs or Brewers? NL Central


NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL 2018:
BEARS AND BEERS


Most analysts think the Cubs will win this division easily. I think they’ll take the NL Central crown, but they won’t feast like a grizzly at a salmon run.

Will Win:  The Chicago Cubs should prevail on the strength of a powerful lineup led by Happ, Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber, and Rizzo. (What idiot allowed him to get out of Boston?) But the Cubs are vulnerable; their pitching looks better on paper than on the field. I think they will regret allowing Arrieta to walk in the belief he’s in decline. That’s actually the case with the guy they signed, Darvish. Quintana so far hasn’t been worth what they surrendered to get him, Hendricks underwhelmed in 2017, and I’ve long thought Lester an under-performing slacker.

Watch Out: The Milwaukee Brewers have holes, but they added (read: stole) Yelich, and Shaw had a break out year. (What idiot allowed him to get out of Boston?) Cain will be dangerous atop the order and if Braun bounces back, the Brew Crew isn’t far behind the Cubs. Pitching is a question mark, though Davies may again out-duel anyone on the Cubs staff. Chacin and Anderson hold out promise.

Dark Horse: Everyone is writing off the St. Louis Cardinals and that’s foolish. Fowler, Carpenter, Pham, Orzuna, DeJong, and Gyoko are solid and under-appreciated. Like everyone else in the division, pitching is a question mark. In the Cards’ case, though, it starts with health, especially that of Adam Wainwright. Watch for a kid named Alex Reyes. I don’t think they’re good enough, but if others falter….

Predicted Finish:

1. Chicago Cubs: Should hang on by a claw.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: Slowly building a team that’s better than any beer brewed in Milwaukee.
3. St. Louis Cardinals: Matheny is a better manager than the Cubs’ Maddon and is smart enough to pilfer a few games. That’s only enough if luck smiles on Saint Lou.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates had a small window for winning. It has closed and they’ve settled back into mediocrity.
5. Cincinnati Reds: The ace of the staff is Homer Bailey. Yeah—Homer Bailey. Need more?



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