Once again the question in the NL will be: Is this the year for the Cubs? The Phillies notwithstanding, this year's NL race is as competitive as it has been in years with no clear cut front-runner. The breakdown:
NL EAST: The Mets should be able to withstand the Phillies. The problem with the Mets however is that they will need to create leads going into the late innings to give K-Rod a chance to preserve some wins. Prediction here 97-65 (1st East).
NL CENTRAL: With some weak competition, the Cubs should be able to gain some wins in the inter-division schedule, enough to give them 1st place. The starting rotation is as solid as any with Zambrano and Harnden most likely running up 17 win seasons. The wild card for the Cubs will be the dynamic that Milton Bradley will bring to the core group. Prediction here 93-69 (1st Central)
NL WEST: By far the weakest Division in the MLB. With a lack of competitive thunder from the Giants, Diamondbacks and Padres, the Dodgers should be able to edge out a Division pennant. Prediction here 86-76 (1st West)
NL WILDCARD: This one should be easy for the defending champion Phillies. While they will battle the Mets for 1st in the East, they will garner enough momentum to clinch the NL Wildcard. Too much offensive punch to be held back. Prediction here 95-67 (NL Wildcard)
NLDS and NLCS: The Cubs should dethrone the Phillies while the Mets will walk all over the Dodgers. Cubs pitching will beat the Mets offense in a tight NLCS. Prediction here - Cubs NL Champs.
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