(CBS) Is this the year for the Cubs? Sports Illustrated says close but not quite.
The same magazine that previously predicted a Cubs-Astros World Series in 2017 has the two teams meeting a year early, with Houston prevailing to win baseball’s crown. It will feature four of its playoff favorites on regional covers this week — the Cubs, Astros, Mets and Giants.
Sports Illustrated’s Cubs cover features Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta with the headline: The Revenants — Cubs: Out Of The Desert, into the World Series (Finally).
The magazine pegs the Cubs as National League Central winners and the NL champions before the Astros take the World Series. However, it’s not a unanimous decision from the organization, as Sports Illustrated baseball expert Tom Verducci has picked the Cubs to win it all.
“I do think the Cubs are the best team in baseball,” Verducci said.
In 2015, the Cubs won 97 games and defeated the Pirates in a one-game wild-card contest, then eliminated the Cardinals in four games in the NLDS. They were swept in four games by the Mets in the NLCS.
The Cubs added to their core by signing Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey, projecting themselves into World Series favorite status by many Vegas oddsmakers.