Why the Chicago Cubs Won’t Fade This Year

The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, left, celebrated with Jason Heyward after hitting a home run in April. Rizzo entered Wednesday’s action with eight home runs and 26 runs batted in.

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Before the season, the Chicago Cubs were the hot pick to win the World Series.

Jake Arrieta, a Cy Young Award winner in 2015, was set to anchor a strong rotation. The signing of right fielder Jason Heyward from the Cardinals bolstered a potent offense that included Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

Fully 14 of 31 experts surveyed by ESPN had the Cubs winning the championship.

The optimism came despite the team’s star-crossed history, including 107 years without a championship and being swept by the Mets in last year’s National League Championship Series.

So far, the experts look smart. The Cubs are living up to expectations, with the best record in baseball at 19-6. They lead the strong N.L. Central by five games, the biggest lead in the majors.

While the Cubs’ .760 winning percentage is extraordinary, it is not completely off the charts. Last year’s leaders…

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