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We're not far into 2016, but it is fair to say that the Cubs are terrifying. Some of this is confirmation bias, sure: They were in the National League Championship Series in 2015, so we already knew they were good, and then they went and added Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist to the mix this winter. Now they've started out 2016 8-1 after completing a sweep of the Reds, and unless disaster strikes -- and let's be real, this is the Cubs, so that's not necessarily a stretch -- they could very well stick in first for the rest of the year.
They already have a three-game lead on the Cardinals, and that could be erased in a hurry, but it's not difficult to envision a scenario where the Cubs just hang on. The Cardinals themselves were in first place in 2015 for 175 days, and they were a game under .500 on April 10. It's April 15 here, the Cubs are 8-1, and they have one of the best lineups and best pitching staffs in the game. That's not just the offseason talking, either: that's how 2016 has begun.
The Cubs have a 120 OPS+ as a team through their first nine games, which ranks third in the NL. Their ERA+ is 194, good for second in the NL behind only the Nationals, who are similarly crushing everyone to begin the season. These are obviously early numbers that can change a whole lot, but we're also talking about a team that was the favorite of many to win it all before this year even began. There will be highs and lows, and the Cubs aren't going to have a near-.900 win percentage all season or anything, but they sure do look terrifying a couple weeks in.
- Bryce Harper hit his 100th career homer, making him the eighth youngest to do so. To make it even more special, Harper hit a grand slam to reach the century mark.
- The Warriors broke the NBA's single-season wins record, which got Grant Brisbee wondering what would it take for a team to break MLB's wins record of 116.
- If their relationship doesn't improve, are the Red Sox going to have to release Pablo Sandoval?
- Good baseball dog.
- This is what it's like when the sport you love doesn't love you back, slash, this is what it's like for women who love baseball.
- The Braves have now lost all nine games in 2016 after the Nationals swept them. There are a whole lot of factors in play here, but the fact their defense has been as bad as advertised isn't helping.
- Michael Baumann wants us to be more like philosophers when we try to answer the questions of the baseball universe.
- Vin Scully made a case for the number 13, a number he does not believe is unlucky.
- Jeremy Hazelbaker is making the most of a long-awaited opportunity in the majors.