By Clark Lorensen and Todd Johnson
A couple of times this year, Clark and I have done some comparative predictions of what we think is going to happen in the next month. Now that the second half is here, we have decided to just put up six things we think are going to happen for the Cubs on their march to the World Series. We each took three positions and made the case for each one.
1. Finish in First
If the Cubs are going to win the World Series, they’re going to finish in first place in the division. Heading into last Friday’s game to begin the second half, the Cubs were seven games up on the Cardinals and 7.5 games over the Pirates. With the advantageous home schedule for the next month and a half, the Cubs are surely going to add to those totals.
2. Javy Improves
I think his second half could be huge. Javy hits left-handed pitching well, and I don’t think many people know that he does. The more advanced he gets, the more patient he will become at the plate. I don’t think any situation is going to influence him to be over anxious, but in reality, the bigger.the situation the more relaxed he is going to get. And that’s probably a good thing.
3. A Win Streak of 9
Heading into the break, the Cubs were 6 and 15. I think during August they are going to put together a nice win streak or 9 or more. Once everybody gets healthy, it will make it that much easier
Todd’s Crystal Ball
4. One Trade – Costly
I think the one thing the Cubs need most of all is a starting pitcher. And the type of starting pitcher they want is one that is cost controlled, relatively young, and preferably one who is entering his arbitration years. In order to get that type, the Cubs are going to have to give up a couple of top prospects. I don’t know if they’ll get this type of trade done before the deadline on August 1, but they do have 30 more days which they can still make a trade and the player will still be eligible for the playoffs. The problem is getting that player cleared waivers.
5. The Bullpen
I don’t think there’s any way the Cubs could get a trade for anybody for the bullpen. I think they’re going to go with Joe Nathan Brian Matusz, Aaron Crow, and Jack Leathersich as their four options. All four players were acquired before the season even began, except for Matusz, who was picked up on waivers.
6. Bryant MVP
Considering the amount of home games they play in the second half, I think Kris Bryant is going to run away with this award. He’s played at 4 premium positions throughout the year and I think once Dexter Fowler returns, Bryant will have more opportunities for runs batted in.