10. World Series hangover continues in Chicago

We know that this seems harsh. Usually championship hangovers are diagnosed in teams struggling to stay .500, getting blown out in their losses and squeaking out a few wins out of nowhere. That doesn’t apply to the Chicago Cubs. But compared to the last two seasons (especially 2016), Chicago’s April in 2017 was well below par.

What’s even more notable is that, despite playing in the perfectly mediocre NL Central, the Cubs have failed to gain any traction. Sure, Chicago sits in first place. But through play on May 3, it’s only three games ahead of the last place Pittsburgh Pirates. By contrast, the Cubs were five games up ahead of the second place team (also the Pirates) on the same date last year.

With all but six games coming against division rivals, Chicago should have owned April again.

Instead, it looks like a flat team. It’s starting pitchers have been awful at the beginning of games, often putting the offense behind.

May offers a more impressive non-divisional run of games. That includes a three-game series against the Yankees, three on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers and three at Coors Field, which isn’t exactly a place where struggling pitchers figure things out.

Teams get tired after championships. The Cubs have had two deep postseasons runs in a row. Given how incredible their championship story was, Chicago’s players experienced even more afterglow than normal following the World Series win.

It’ll be up to someone else in the division to jump up and make the Cubs pay for their struggles. But we’re not expecting a lot from the champs this month.