You probably know the significance of 1908 with regards to the Chicago Cubs if you follow baseball. That was obviously the previous time the Cubs won the World Series before 2016, but what you may not know is that was also the last time they won the National League pennant in consecutive seasons.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Chicago is listed as a +175 favorite to repeat the feat in 2017 according to oddsmakers.
In fact, the Cubs won three straight NL pennants between 1906 and 1908, also beating the Detroit Tigers twice in the 1907 and 1908 World Series for their previous two titles. Chicago has won 17 pennants overall dating back to the late 1800s when the team was known as the White Stockings, with a solid shot at taking No. 18 if the squad’s core players can stay healthy and produce another outstanding record.
The Cubs were an MLB-best 103-58 last year and used their home-field advantage to get past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series with big wins in Games 1 and 6.
The Dodgers and Washington Nationals are both listed at +500 to win the pennant after finishing as champions of the NL West and East, respectively, last season. Los Angeles is hoping a healthy Clayton Kershaw can help the franchise earn its 19th pennant, with the last happening in 1988.
Meanwhile, the Nationals are going for their first pennant and also need stronger pitching that failed to come through versus the Dodgers in the NL Division Series last year. The two teams that won the previous two pennants – the San Francisco Giants (+600) and New York Mets (+800) – are in the mix as well.
The American League is equally top-heavy, with the Boston Red Sox (+225), Cleveland Indians (+350) and Houston Astros (+650) the top three teams favored to win the pennant. The Red Sox added ace Chris Sale in the offseason hoping that he will combine with David Price and Rick Porcello to form baseball’s best starting rotation.
But the defending AL champion Indians will have something to say about that too because they should be even stronger than last season thanks to the addition of slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Cleveland swept Boston in last year’s ALDS en route to the team’s sixth pennant and first since 1997 before falling to Chicago in the World Series.
The Astros are expected to win the AL West for the first time since switching leagues in 2013. They are counting on the resurgence of 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and the veteran leadership of ageless Carlos Beltran to get them back on track.