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NL Central Team Previews and Predictions

Chicago Cubs

Preview: The Cubs are coming into 2019 looking to take back the NL Central pennant. This will be a tough task since it looks like one of the tougher divisions in baseball. The Cubs return the same lineup from 2018 featuring former all-stars, Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez, and 2016 NL MVP, Kris Bryant. As expected now in Chicago, the Cubs look solid at the plate and in the field. The starting pitching isn’t to be overlooked. The rotation returns Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana; all of whom turned in solid 2018 seasons. Yu Darvish seems to be the only question mark in the rotation as he turned in an unimpressive 4.95 ERA last season after his World Series meltdown in 2017. Should Darvish struggle too much this season, look for Manager Joe Madden to give LHP Mike Montgomery some spot-starts. The Cubs bullpen should be reliable as well. The back-end of the ‘pen looks very strong with Pedro Strop (2.26 ERA in 2018), Steve Cishek (2.18 ERA in 2018), Carl Edwards Jr. (2.60 ERA in 2018), and expected closer, Brandon Morrow (1.47 ERA with 22/24 saves in 2018). Barring any injuries, the Cubs bullpen will be a reliable one in 2019. Once again, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon have the Cubs in position to compete for another World Series. The NL Central pennant race will be a tight one, and the Cubs will surely be right in the middle of it.

Prediction: 95-67

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