The Cubs and the Phillies are both contenders for the NL Central, and they both won the World Series last year.
The Phillies, of course, will be back in town on Sunday for the start of the NLDS.
The Cubs are playing in front of a sold-out crowd in Wrigley Field, with their home opener in Cincinnati coming on Sunday.
Both teams have made major additions to their rosters this offseason.
The Astros are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2013.
They have a new manager in Jeff Banister, who has made his name in Seattle, and will have their star pitcher, Jose Quintana, back for the second half.
The Red Sox have added veteran reliever Ryan Dempster and catcher David Ortiz to a starting rotation that includes Marcus Semien, Rick Porcello, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
It is a group that has been better than average, with no superstar sluggers, no superstars, no ace, and no World Series title contenders.
There’s plenty of talk about the Cubs’ starting pitching and bullpen being elite.
But the fact remains that the Cubs are a contender for the AL Central title, and the Red Sox are the most dominant team in baseball.
Here’s why some fans think the Cubs have the better team.
• The Cubs have a good starting lineup.
Since the start, the Cubs starters have allowed an average of 5.25 runs per game, and have struck out about a batter for every one they’ve allowed.
That’s the third-highest rate in baseball, trailing only the Astros and the Giants.
The reason for that is because of the bullpen, which is one of the best in baseball by Baseball Prospectus.
Last season, the bullpen had a 4.02 ERA.
This season, it has an ERA of 4.17.
In fact, the rotation is tied for the best by Baseball Reference.
The Dodgers bullpen ranks third in ERA, trailing just the Giants and Giants hitters.
It has allowed just 4.19 runs per nine innings.
It also has allowed fewer than three earned runs in four of its past five games.
• They’re very close to being one of baseball’s best pitchers.
It’s not a given that the Astros will win the AL West, but if they do, the Astros should have a chance to win it.
Houston is 12-2, including a sweep of the Padres last season, and has won nine of their past 10.
They’re 9-1 in games decided by at least 10 runs, and are 1-0 in games won by at most three runs.
The Tigers have the best record in the AL East, and their bullpen is third in baseball in ERA.
The best part of the Astros rotation, according to the research at Baseball Prospectum, is righty Kyle Lohse, who was just the fifth pitcher to throw at least 400 innings since the start.
Lohsoe is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in six starts.
The other top pitcher on the team is right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who is 1-1, with a 4-1 record.
Luhse has thrown at least five innings in six of his past seven starts, and he has struck out 12 batters in just five.
The bullpen has allowed the second-fewest runs in the majors this season, behind only the Yankees bullpen.
It allowed the third fewest in the league last year, behind the Padres and Astros.
They also rank third in the American League in ERA and sixth in wins.
If they can maintain their success, they could be contenders for a division title in the future.
The Rockies, meanwhile, are a division rival to the Cubs in the NL West, and a divisional rival to both the Giants in the wild-card race, and to the Phillies in the NLCS.
They are 11-7, including the sweep of Atlanta last season.
They won seven of their last 10 games, and last week they lost to the Dodgers, 6-2.
They were the wild card for the division.
• If they win the division, they’ll have a better chance to get a World Series berth.
The Nationals have the second best record, with 11-5.
The Padres have the fourth-best record, but they have lost nine of 10.
The Brewers, Dodgers, and Phillies have the third and fourth-worst records, respectively.
The Cardinals have a record of 6-19, while the Mets and Marlins are 0-17.
The Marlins, for their part, are 5-23, while they have won just five of their 12 games.
The Mets have a losing record in each of their first 10 games.
They will face the Dodgers and Phillies in Game 1 of the World Championship Series on Sunday at Wrigle Field.
Here is how we ranked the