Baseball : MLB 2017 season preview

Chicago Cubs wins 2016 World Series

Ending more than a century of flops, futility and frustration, the Cubs won their first title since 1908, outlasting the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings of a Game 7 thriller. Lovable losers for generations, the Cubs nearly let this one get away, too. All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman blew a 6-3 lead with two outs in the eighth when Rajai Davis hit a tying, two-run homer. But the Cubs, after tormenting their fans one more time, came right back after a 17-minute rain delay before the top of the 10th.

Manager Joe Maddon's team halted the longest title drought in baseball, becoming the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals. Cleveland was trying to win its first crown since 1948, but manager Terry Francona's club lost the last two games at home.

Ben Zobrist was chosen as the World Series MVP, a year after he helped the Royals win the championship. Zobrist was among the players brought to the Cubs by Theo Epstein, the baseball guru who added another crown to his collection. He also assembled the Red Sox team that broke Boston's 86-year drought with the 2004 championship.

MLB 2016 Playoffs
World Series
Cleveland - Ch. Cubs3 : 4
League Series
Ch. Cubs - LA Dodg.4 : 2
Cleveland - Toronto4 : 1
Division Series
Cleveland - Boston3 : 0
Texas - Toronto0 : 3
Ch. Cubs - San Fran.3 : 1
Washing. - LA Dodg.2 : 3

MLB 2017 key dates

The 2017 season starts on April 2 and will end on October 1. The All-Star Game will be held on July 12 in Miami. For the first time since 2002, the All Star Game will not determine home field advantage for the World Series. Instead, home field advantage will be awarded to the team with the better regular season record.

  • April 2 - Opening day
  • July 11 - All Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami
  • October 1 - Final day of the 2017 regular season
  • October 3 - Postseason begin

Odds by bookmakers

These are odds to win 2017 MLB World Series Championship published by online bookmakers before the start of the season:

Chicago Cubs5Baltimore Orioles34
Boston Red Sox6Pittsburgh Pirates40
Cleveland Indians8Colorado Rockies40
Los Angeles Dodgers11Miami Marlins50
Washington Nationals12Los Angeles Angels67
Houston Astros14Tampa Bay Rays80
Toronto Blue Jays15Arizona Diamondbacks80
San Francisco Giants17Philadelphia Phillies100
New York Mets19Chicago White Sox100
New York Yankees20Atlanta Braves100
Texas Rangers21Oakland Athletics125
St. Louis Cardinals23Milwaukee Brewers200
Seattle Mariners26San Diego Padres200
Detroit Tigers34Cincinnati Reds200
Kansas City Royals34Minnesota Twins200

This upcoming version of the Chicago Cubs returns much of the squad that brought the parade to the Windy City. Last season they won the most games in the regular season with 103. They won the NL Central by 17.5 games, and dominated all season, save a short stretch near the All-Star break. Seven all-star represented the team, and more could have had a case been made on their behalf. Now, can the Cubs repeat, and become the first team to do so since the 2000 New York Yankees?

The Boston Red Sox finished with the best record in the American League East a year ago when they registered 93 wins. However, Boston stumbled in the postseason and that led to the decision to make some bold moves in an attempt to put this team over the top. The Red Sox acquired Chris Sale to bolster a talented rotation and then brought in Mitch Moreland in an effort to negate the loss of David Ortiz at first base. If they can get a boost from the return of a healthy, rejuvenated Pablo Sandoval, this team will be tough to beat.

Read more about offseason moves on MLB 2017 transfers. Visit main MLB 2017 page for latest news, scores and stats.

Despite the restocked Red Sox standing in their way, the Clevelend Indians are in great shape to return to the World Series. Unlike last fall, Cleveland is expecting All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley and starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to start the season in full health. Not to mention the addition of All-Star slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Cleveland has the talent to do it even if it has to play for a while without starting second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury in spring training and is expected to miss the first few weeks of the regular season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers added another National League West title to their resume with 91 wins a year ago and they did so while enduring a slew of injuries. While they ultimately fell short of reaching their World Series title goal they are once again primed to contend in 2017. The real challenge will be staying healthy and peaking when it matters the most. The Dodgers have invested a lot of money in a roster that is definitely capable of repeating as NL West champions but the bar has been set a little higher for this year.

MLB 2016 regular-season standings

AL East
4NY Yank.51.984-78
AL Central
4Ch. Sox48.178-84
AL West
4LA Angels45.774-88
NL East
2NY Mets53.787-75
NL Central
1Ch. Cubs64.0103-58
2St Louis53.186-76
NL West
1LA Dodg.56.291-71
2San Fran.53.787-75
5San Diego42.068-94

World Series in last five seasons

2016Ch. Cubs - Cleveland4 : 3
2015Kansas - NY Mets4 : 1
2014San Fran. - Kansas4 : 3
2013Boston - St Louis4 : 2
2012San Fran. - Detroit4 : 0

NY Yankees271/2----
St. Louis111/2finals1/21/4-
San Fran.8title-title-1/4
LA Dodgers6-1/21/41/41/2
Ch. Cubs3---1/2title
Ch. Sox3-----
NY Mets2---finals1/2
Kansas City2--finalstitle-
LA Angels1--1/4--
San Diego------

The table shows the overall number of World Series titles and team success in the last five seasons. (title, finals - World Series; 1/2 - League championship series; 1/4 - Playoffs)

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