The Cubs have won seven of their last 10 ballgames and are tied with the Cincinnati Reds for second in the division.
We’re headed towards the final 60 games of the season, and the question on Chicagoans minds is, can the Cubs catch the Brewers and win the National League Central Division?
Cubs’ Offense is Best in the National League Central
The Cubbies can score runs in droves, are third in the National League in runs scored, and lead their division rivals in run differential. In fact, Chicago is the only NL Central team with a positive run differential, which bodes well for the Cubs winning the division.
Additionally, the Cubs are third in the National League in stolen bases and fourth in Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Chicago strands the 21st most runners in scoring position, and if it weren’t for their sometimes stagnant run production, the Cubbies would be running away with the division.
OF Cody Bellinger is riding an eight-game hitting streak going into Monday’s series with the New York Mets and has driven in seven runs with 13 hits. Bellinger, 2B Nico Hoerner, SS Dansby Swanson, 3B Patrick Wisdom, and OF Ian Happ have done most of the offensive damage for the Cubs this season.
Strong Starting Pitching
The Cubs starting rotation has been surprisingly good and is third amongst their NL peers in walks per nine innings pitched. Justin Steele is second in MLB in wins, and Marcus Stroman has been at or near the top in ERA for much of the season. Jameson Taillon is 4-0 since July 1, and Kyle Hendricks and Drew Smyly form as solid a starting rotation as any in the Central division.
Cubs Mediocre Bullpen
The Cubs bullpen doesn’t have the sexy names, but they’ve only lost two games this season in the ninth inning. The ‘pen walks nearly four per nine frames but serves up the fifth least home runs per nine innings with the second-best strand rate in the National League.
Adbert Azolay has locked in the closer role with 14 saves and a 0.90 WHIP. He’s done an excellent job finishing games for the Cubs, and Hayden Wesneski and Mark Leiter Jr have been bright spots for Chicago.
Are the Cubs a Good Bet to Win the National League Central Division?
Yes, the Cubs are a good bet to win the National League Central Division.
The Cubs are one of the hottest teams in baseball and have the bats and the arms to catch the Milwaukee Brewers and hold off the surging Cincinnati Reds.
The schedule is important – eight of their remaining 16 series’ are against teams with no shot at the playoffs, and they only have 10 games remaining against the Brewers (6) and Reds (4). Seven of those games are away contests, and Chicago will need to do better than the .500 ball they’ve played on the road this season.
The starting pitching has been terrific, and Stroman returns from the IL in mid-August. Hopefully, he returns to his pre-All-Star game form when he led the NL in ERA instead of the injured starter getting lit up.
Finally, the Cubs have a 21-14 record against their NL Central rivals. Most of their remaining games are against division foes, with 14 games against bad teams like the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Detroit Tigers.
The schedule is favorable, the pitching has been solid, and the Cubs have the bats to win the Central. Play Chicago +210 to win the NL Central Division at DraftKings IL.
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