Theo Epstein: “Our goal in 2015 is to win the National League Central”

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The Cubs have finished in fifth place in the NL Central in each of the last five seasons. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is ready to see his club get out of the basement, telling Cubs season ticket holders that “our goal in 2015 is to win the National League Central,” as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

It’s not outlandish to think that the Cubs could break out in the NL Central. The 2014 season saw a youth infusion, as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, and Arismendy Alcantara made their major league debuts. Top prospects Kris Bryant (the 2014 Minor League Player of the Year), Addison Russell, and C.J. Edwards could get the call in 2015. 25-year-old first baseman Anthony Rizzo just had a breakout season while Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta each performed remarkably well on the mound. Hector Rondon was quite reliable at the back end of the bullpen. The pieces are obviously all there, or at least they will be very, very soon.

Video: Kurt Suzuki breaks World Series Game 2 tie with long solo homer

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The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.

Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.

The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.