The Chicago Cubs, as the defending World Series champions, entered the 2017 Major League Baseball season as heavy favorites to at least win their division. However, heading into Major League Baseball's All Star break, the Cubs are two games below .500. Accordingly, a surprise team is now sitting in first place as the Milwaukee Brewers are a .549 baseball team. They have that winning percentage following a win over the New York Yankees on Sunday. As teams break, Milwaukee has a 5.5-game lead in the division, leading many to wonder if they are for real.

Brewers having surprise seasons

Whenever a team is enjoying some surprise success, there are always players that are over-achieving compared to previous seasons. Travis Shaw is one player that is having a better season at the plate than he has compared to previous points in his career. The third baseman for Milwaukee enters the All Star break with a .938 OPS compared to a .726 OPS for all of last season.

31-year old Eric Sogard has also been very effective when playing. Although he missed the start of the season he had a huge second half of May. His OPS was over .800 in the month of June and he might just have a career year. His .924 OPS is in just 43 games, but it's far over and above anything that he has posted at the plate in his career.

On the mound, Zach Davies is 10-4 already despite entering the season with only 14 wins in his career.

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He might be a lucky pitcher in terms of runs support as his ERA is high. He's a player that projects to a near 20-win season, but you have to wonder if he'll need to lower his ERA significantly from 4.90 to do that.

It's more so that Jimmy Nelson that is enjoying a strong season on the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers. He's 8-4, has more strikeouts than innings pitched, and his ERA is 3.30. He has never had an ERA below 4.00 in a complete season and has never posted a winning record in a season.

However, it's not run support that is winning Nelson games, but his career-best WHIP so far of 1.25. If he keeps it up, then he could be the key pitcher for the Brewers should they get involved in some crunch games down the stretch.

Does Milwaukee want it more?

The Cubs actually remain the betting-odds favorites to win the division despite a 5.5-game deficit. Bet365 sportsbook for instance make Chicago -200 (1 to 2) to overcome the deficit and move on to win the division.

However, where a lot of Brewers are enjoying surprise success, a lot of Cubs are playing surprisingly bad. If that has anything to do with satisfied ambition after winning the World Series last year, then maybe Milwaukee can be viewed as the hungrier team.

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