The dog days of summer have arrived as the National League Playoff picture starts to heat up in Major League Baseball. . This is also the perfect time of the year to debate on which NL team has positioned themselves to take home the National League Championship come October 2016.
This year will be no different as a few teams have positioned themselves for a deep run including the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants as well as teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals who are all fighting for wild card positions.
For us the team that will Win the National League Championship is the Chicago Cubs who got off to the hottest start in all of Major League Baseball. Fast forward to the first week of August and the Cubs are still rolling while supporting the best record in all of baseball at 67-41. While the Curse of the Bill Goat has haunted them since 1945 that will all change in 2016.
Now here are a few key reasons Why the Chicago Cubs will win the National League Championship in 2016
Starting Rotation: When you look at teams that make a deep run in the playoffs it all starts with a solid front of the line rotation. Typically that runs through the first three starters but this club has five good starters built around Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Four of those five starters are averaging over six innings of work per start and three have earned run averages under three through today. Currently the Cubs rotation ranks 1st in ERA, 3rd in Innings Pitched and 1st in W.H.I.P in all of baseball.
Bullpen: The Cubs have one of the deeper bullpens in baseball now that they added Aroldis Chapman before the August 1st MLB Trade Deadline. Chapman will settle into the ninth inning role moving Hector Rondon to the setup position. While their overall bullpen stats don’t look as impressive as some clubs the addition of Chapman should help those numbers as he pitched to a 2.01 earned run average with 44 strikeouts in just 31.1 innings of work for the New York Yankees this season.
Joe Maddon: Now believe what you want but yes MLB teams win games because of their manager. Maddon is one of the most creative managers in the game finding ways to save runs with defensive shifts as well as create scoring opportunities by using a variety of different tactics including using the pitcher in the eighth slot instead of the typical nine hole. The Cubs skipper has also shown he is not afraid to make a move to win a ball game; this was present of late when he elected to pinch hit Jon Lester in the 12th inning against the Seattle Mariners. Lester who had just a .167 OPS entering that contest delivered dropping down a clutch two strike squeeze bunt to win the game. The days of playing baseball have changed and the analytic approach that Maddon brings to the game will continue to help the Cubs win games.
Be prepared to see the Cubs play in the World Series this year.