Can the Chicago Cubs Win the 2016 World Series?
The Cubs booked their spot in the playoffs with the best season for the 2016 MLB season, and Vegas has them as the most likely team to win the 2016 World Series, which would break a drought lasting 107 years. Is this the Cubs season or will bad luck strike again? Here are reasons that the Chicago Cubs will/won’t win the 2016 World Series.
Reasons the Cubs Will Win the 2016 World Series
- The best team for 2016 – With a record of 103-58-1, the Cubs have the best MLB record for 2016. The record is also the best since 1910. What also happened in 1910? The Cubs went to the World Series. As undoubtedly the best team in baseball, this might finally be the year that the Cubs go home with the World Series Title.
- Best starting and closing pitching – With John Lester and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs have two of the top pitchers for 2016 (as well as top Cy Young candidates) with John Lester being particularly hot, with a 1.47 ERA since the playoffs. Although Jake Arietta hasn’t had the same season as 2015, he is definitely still another strong starting pitcher. Add in Aroldis Chapman as a lights out closer, and you have one of the best starting and closing pitching combinations in baseball.
- It’s about time to break the “curse” – Whether or not you believe in the Cubs “billy goat curse” it’s about time that they break the curse and win the World Series. Look no further than the Red Sox, who managed to break their “curse” and win in 2004. And the GM at that time? Theo Epstein, who just happens to be the current GM for the Cubs. Coincidence? I think not.
- An offensive powerhouse – In addition to exceptional pitching, the Cubs are an offensive powerhouse. They’ve managed to rack up a run differential of +252, with big hitters including Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell stepping up bigtime in the second half of the season. Even if for some reason the pitching isn’t up to scratch, the Cubs have the offensive power to score enough runs to beat any team.
- Home field advantage – The Cubs have home field advantage for the NLDS and NLCS series, even if they don’t have it for the World Series. They have been playing exceptional baseball at home, with a record of 57-24 for the season. With such an good record at home, the Cubs have the advantage in making it to the World Series.
Reasons the Cubs Won’t Win the 2016 World Series
- Tough postseason competition – The Cubs face some fierce competition in the postseason. First up is the Giants, over whom they managed to eke out a winning record (4-3) against. The real threat is Bumgarner, who silenced the Cubs pitching in two of those wins. Not to mention the fact that the Giants have won the World Series every even year for the past six years, with their “turn” coming again in 2016. If they do make it past the Giants, they will still possibly face an even better offensive and defensive team in the Nationals or Dodgers and a dangerous Red Sox team led by a resurgent David Ortiz.
- Weak bullpen – Even though the Cubs have some great starting and closing pitching, the bullpen is seriously lacking. Four of the bullpen pitchers have ERA’s of above 4.82, which could be a serious problem once the starting pitchers have been taken off.
- Teams with the best regular season don’t usually win – Ironically, the fact that the Cubs have the best regular season may actually be working against them. In the 21 years that the playoffs have included the Divisional season, there have been only four cases where the teams with the best record went on to win the World Series, and two of those cases involved two teams tied with the best record meeting each other in the playoffs. When you consider NL teams, it gets even worse: no National League team has ever led the league in wins and then went on to win the World Series since the league moved to a three-tiered format.
- The Cubs fail in clutch situations – Probably the most important factor in winning a championship is delivering when it matters.The Cubs have been hitting .270 when in the lead, but .232 when playing from behind. The number dips just a bit when playing in “late and close” situations where the Cubs were close in score or tied late in the game. And in FanGraphs unique “clutch ranking” the Cubs are 25th out of the 30 teams ranked, with only the Met’s ranking lower among the playoff teams. This may prove to be a problem when the Cubs need to come from behind to win.
- The curse of the billy goat – Yes, we have to bring up the C word. Every time the Cubs have been close to a World Series win, something strange happens to stop them. Not only that, they have been featured on the Sports Illustrated Cover this year – something that is seen to be a “jinx” for many players and teams. It’s not the first year that the Cubs have been the best candidate to win the World Series – and every time this happened previously they ended up falling short. It’s hard to argue with 107 years of failure.