This Will Be Wrong, part II: The Central Divisions

Yesterday, I started the pandemic season preview with the easiest divisions- the East. I feel very comfortable with those picks. As for today’s task, well, it won’t be as easy. Sure, I could pencil in the Twins and Cardinals and call it a day. But that’s boring. What about the old guard Cubs and Indians? Or the upstart Reds and White Sox? Or the pesky Brewers? There are other teams, I’m sure, because I have to predict ten. We’ll see who they are after the jump.

This was supposed to be a big year for Chicago baseball. The Cubs’ window was still open for the moment, the White Sox’ window was just opening. Now, with the limitations and freedoms of a shortened schedule, any logical predictions are thrown upon the pyre. Unlike in my Eastern Division predictions, there is a LOT of regressing to the mean here. Supreme lack of exceptionalism, but many contenders given the circumstances.

TeamWinsLossesGames BackWin Pct.
Chicago Cubs3228.533
Cincinnati Reds3228.533
St. Louis Cardinals31291.516
Milwaukee Brewers30302.500
Pittsburgh Pirates27335.450

I think in a sprint situation, the Cubs are primed to win out the division, but not without an immense amount of stress. The Reds, those darling Cincinnati Reds, are going to turn some heads, but fall short on head to head results. Honestly, this one is a crap shoot, so I went with my gut. If we were playing a 162-game season, I would have probably but Chicago third at best. Maybe had Milwaukee winning. But this situation calls for brute force, and I believe the Cubs’ lineup is capable of squeaking out a division title by barely staying over .500.

Over in the American League, the Twins are the business. Not only did they set a record for most home runs in a season last year, they topped it off by getting swept by the Yankees again. Oh those Twins. When will they learn?

TeamWinsLossesGames BackWin Pct.
Minnesota Twins3426.566
Chicago White Sox31293.516
Cleveland Indians30304.500
Kansas City Royals28326.466
Detroit Tigers25359.416

While I am high on the White Sox and their hit king Tim Anderson, I just don’t see it coming together in time to fight for a wild card. The Royals and Indians will be just good enough to make it tough on Chicago, ultimately keeping them home in October. The Tigers will benefit from the shortened season, getting lucky enough to not end up with the top pick next summer.

Tomorrow, we head out West and you finally get the answer to the question of “can a team win 40 games this season?”

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