During the shortened 60-game 2020 season, Major League Baseball had to alter the way the schedules matched up. Every team in the AL Central was supposed to play the teams from the NL West in their interleague schedule but that all had to change with the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they played the teams from the NL Central so that they didn’t have to travel as much. As a result, they skipped the 2020 plans and made the 2021 schedule as originally planned. The Chicago White Sox and the rest of the AL Central and NL Central will match up once again.
The Chicago White Sox have some big-time matchups ahead with the NL Central.
Of course, whenever we talk about the White Sox and the National League Central, the thought goes to the Crosstown Classic. The Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs are natural rivals simply because they share a city. They would have been playing each other regardless of what the interleague schedule says because the MLB puts that series together every year no matter what.
The Cubs were a good team in 2020 and won the division title but they have a lot of flaws. The offense isn’t good enough and the pitching is full of question marks. They still have enough stars to be competitive in 2021 so they are hard to predict. With the departure of players like Yu Darvish, Kyle Schwarber, and Jon Lester, they will certainly look a lot different.
The biggest addition a team made in the division during the offseason is the St. Louis Cardinals adding Nolan Arenado in a deal with the Colorado Rockies. St. Louis is going to be good once again and has to be one of the favorites in the division. When the White Sox are going against them, they need to be doing everything they can to be on their game.
A good sleeper in the MLB right now is the Milwaukee Brewers. They got hot at the end of the 2020 regular season and snuck in the playoffs but had a down year overall. Christian Yelich is one of the best hitters in the world but he struggled as well. Before that, you can argue that he was the best hitter in all of baseball in the years leading up to that. If Yelich and the Brew Crew are able to bounce back, they could have a really good year.
The Cincinnati Reds also made the playoffs last year but had an overall dissapointing year. They had to play catchup all year long and barely snuck in. Trevor Bauer is gone but they still have a pretty solid roster. Like the Cubs, they are a hard group to predict. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if they are mediocre and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they are awesome.
One team in the division that you would consider bad is the Pittsburgh Pirates. They just keep trading away all of their talented players and show little to no signs of coming out of it. They are the type of team that you expect the White Sox to beat pretty much every time. They still will need to bring their best to win because it is Major League Baseball but they should be able to take care of their business.
2021 Standings Prediction:
1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
This might be an unusual prediction but it is hard to see the Cubs concerning themselves with baseball enough to focus on the season. Everything surrounding them in terms of storylines is off-the-field stuff. The Brewers seem poised to have a comeback season and the Cardinals have a sweet roster so expect them to have a big year.