Channel your inner Anthony Rizzo, folks, because the Cubs should be yelling, "respect me!" after seeing the latest MLB.com World Series contender rankings, which have Chicago at #17 despite a recent 5-2 homestand against the Reds and Braves and playing at the top of the league for two months now.
Cubs get no love in MLB.com's new World Series contender rankings
Mike Petriello and Will Leitch had the Cubs at #21 in their preseason rankings and David Ross' club has apparently done very little to convince them they're the real deal. On one hand, you can't fault their assessment: Chicago had a sluggish start to the year and lack the star power of some contenders. But lately, they've looked like a very different team - and it's hard to believe that hasn't moved the needle more.
"They’ve got a tougher schedule than you might think down the stretch -- they won two of three vs. the Braves over the weekend, but play three more against Atlanta in the final week -- but if you’re not sold on the Brewers or the Reds, the Cubs could absolutely make a run. They clearly think it’s possible: They were surprisingly stout at the Deadline. They believe. Maybe we should, too."- MLB.com
The Cubs are looking up at two NL Central teams in these rankings Cincinnati (16) and Milwaukee (7) - and that 10-team gap between the Brewers and Cubs feels like a chasm given these teams are separated by just 1 1/2 games heading into the week and Chicago' s +75 run differential trounces Milwaukee's -8 mark.
Cody Bellinger is playing like his former MVP self and Dansby Swanson is on a tear at the plate since coming back from the IL. Jeimer Candelario has been the best hitter in the league since the trade deadline and the lineup is clicking at the right time. Without an effective, healthy Marcus Stroman, the Cubs lack the pitching to win it all but the good news is he's expected back and should have time to find a groove before the postseason.
I'm not saying the Cubs should be the odds-on favorite to win it all because they shouldn't. But they're a far cry from being in the bottom half of the league, barely outpacing the Twins and last-place Yankees and deserve more respect from the national media.