Chicago Cubs: Next years hunt for the N.L. Central title will be close

The Chicago Cubs ended a few droughts in 2016. Behind an impressive start to the year, the North Siders took over the N.L. Central by storm. Gaining a massive lead and keeping it throughout the regular season.

At one point, it looked as if the Chicago Cubs were going to let that lead slip away. Their slump in July didn’t help much as their number decreased by the day. That was until their win over the Seattle Mariners.

Since Jon Lester laid down that walk-off bunt that scored Jason Heyward, the Cubs went full throttle. Putting the pedal down to the metal, cruising their way to a division title. Their first since 2008.

It was great seeing them celebrating but they had to wait the day after. And if you forgot, Miguel Montero came through with a walk-off homer.

Either way, the first champagne shower of the season occurred later on that day. Coming out with postseason t-shirts made fans excited and determined for what was to come.

Now that they’ll begin the year as World Series champs, the rest of the division will be looking to dethrone them. Especially, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Those Redbirds have been busy this offseason, getting rid of a few pieces. Not to mention, they signed Brett Cecil and center fielder, Dexter Fowler. Fowler hurts but the man deserves the money that he will be receiving.

Won’t Be Easy

Again, 2016 was a bit of a blowout. The Cubs clinched their division sooner than anyone else and eventually, the Cardinals were at home watching October baseball. Something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

In 2017, things are going to be different. St. Louis now has Chicago’s leadoff weapon in their possession on top of a few young studs in their rotation. Which means this rivalry just got a whole lot more interesting.

Yes, Joe Maddon and the Cubs have a great shot at repeating as division champions. But what Dexter Fowler said during his press conference about how the Cardinals continued to fight, shouldn’t be taken lightly.

He’s right. Although the Cubs are packed with young superstars, the Cardinals have found ways to win a ton of ballgames. Even without some of their key performances in the lineup. Losing Matt Holliday hurt until they gained Fowler’s services.

As of right now, the Cubs and Cardinals are at the top of the food chain. Which could be dangerous in the long-run. Why? Well because the Pittsburgh Pirates have been labeled as the underdogs before and have turned doubters into believers.

However, Chicago and St. Louis still have the best shot at bringing home a division title. Until something happens, the advantage should be in Chicago’s favor to do it all over again in 2017.

Will the additions of Koji Uehara, Jon Jay, and Wade Davis be enough for the Cubs to not only win the division, but capture another World Series title? Who knows. That is the most exciting thing about baseball.

It’s not impossible.

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