En route to a World Series title, the Chicago Cubs benefited from an outstanding starting rotation. If injuries are avoided, you can expect more of the same in 2017.
Defense wins championships. That, and good pitching. Last year, the Chicago Cubs proved that true, leading the league in earned run average and virtually every defensive metric out there.
Jon Lester won 19 games, finishing second in the NL Cy Young voting. Kyle Hendricks emerged as a weapon in the middle of the Cubs’ rotation, leading all of Major League Baseball in earned run average and finishing in the top five of Cy Young voting himself.
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Over the season’s first half, Jake Arrieta carried on with his dominance from 2015, before fading a but in the second half. He re-emerged as a dominant force in the postseason, playing an integral role in the team’s title run.
Meanwhile, John Lackey ate up innings and brought his bulldog mentality to the mound every five days like he always has, adding a bite to a young ball club.
Now, southpaw Brett Anderson joins the mix after signing a one-year deal. The former Dodgers hurler is hoping to reestablish himself on the North Side and silence his doubters once and for all.
As is the case annually, it all comes down to health. But if this staff is healthy, Joe Maddon‘s club is poised to make history again in 2017.