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NL Central Review and Preview: The Chicago Cubs

Cody Bellinger stands ready on defense during a road game for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs are aiming to get back to the playoffs after narrowly missing out on a berth in the final week of the season.

The 2023 baseball odyssey for the Chicago Cubs (83-79) was a journey of promise and heartbreak, encapsulated in narrowly missing the postseason. As the year unfolded, April ushered in an air of optimism, with the Cubs displaying resilience and determination.

However, May brought unforeseen challenges, establishing a pattern of peaks and valleys that defined their campaign. Navigating the summer months, the Cubs found themselves on the precipice of postseason contention, but ultimately fell just short. A managerial change is bringing hope to Wrigleyville of a better future.

Month By Month

Spring Training and March

The Cubs compiled an impressive 17-12 record in the preseason to enter 2023 with lots of promise. Chicago earned an Opening Day win over the rival Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field to earn a 1-0 record in the month of March.

April: A Steady Start (13-13)

April marked the initiation of the Chicago Cubs’ 2023 campaign, showcasing a balanced performance with a 13-13 record. The team navigated the early season waters, hinting at a promising trajectory and fostering a sense of anticipation among fans.

May: Unforeseen Challenges (10-18)

However, the narrative took an unexpected turn in May as unforeseen challenges emerged. Despite early promise, the Cubs faced setbacks that tested their resilience despite a positive run differential.

June: Navigating Peaks and Valleys (14-11)

Transitioning into June, the Cubs displayed resilience, navigating the peaks and valleys of the season. The month became a microcosm of their overall journey, featuring both triumphs and challenges that set the stage for the unpredictable chapters that lay ahead.

Missed it By That Much

July: Teetering on Contention (15-11)

As the summer unfolded, July saw the Cubs teetering on the brink of contention with a 15-11 record. The season’s narrative hung in the balance, with fans hopeful for a sustained surge from SS Dansby Swanson and 2B Nico Hoerner that would carry them into postseason contention.

August: A Remarkable Resurgence (18-9)

August brought a remarkable resurgence for the Cubs, concluding the month with an impressive 18-9 record. The team hit its stride, demonstrating a level of cohesion and excellence. At the time, they were well positioned for a postseason bid.

September: A Late-Season Surge (12-16)

September unfolded with a late-season surge as the Cubs aimed to surpass the Cincinnati Reds, concluding the month with a 12-16 record. The team’s playoff aspirations flickered to life, fueled by moments of brilliance and a collective determination to secure a coveted postseason berth. Alas, the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks finished a game ahead of Chicago.


Chicago looked poised to make a run at the postseason behind its exciting offense and impressive run-scoring statistics. All of the great work in August quickly unraveled as the postseason approached, with Milwaukee holding on to capture the division and Arizona stealing the final Wild Card spot.

The Cubs promised to be a tough out in the early rounds of October, but somehow missed out on the tournament. Chicago saw massive leads disappear in Atlanta against the Braves, leading to late-season heartbreak.

An offensive attack led by Dansby Swanson and OF Cody Bellinger came up just short, needing just one or two more breaks.

Disappointment loomed large in the Windy City, but quickly became overshadowed by glimpses of future glory. The stunning swipe of Brewers manager Craig Counsell brings new excitement, entering 2024 as the favorite to claim the NL Central.

In a seismic shift, the Chicago Cubs have transformed into a coveted free agent destination. This change is underscored by recent successes, creating an enticing atmosphere for top-tier players seeking a competitive environment.

Moreover, the Cubs’ commitment to revitalizing their roster has become increasingly apparent. With strategic acquisitions and a clear vision for the future, they have positioned themselves as a force in the free agency market.

Positive Turnover

This transformation is a departure from previous perceptions, as the Cubs redefine their identity as contenders. Furthermore, the front office’s proactive approach and commitment to building a winning culture have elevated the team’s appeal.

Consequently, players now view the Cubs not just as a historic franchise but as a destination for potential championship glory. This newfound status marks a significant chapter in the team’s evolution, and as they continue to reshape their roster, the Cubs stand poised to attract top talent, solidifying their position as a premier free agent destination in the competitive landscape of Major League Baseball.

I am extremely excited to watch Counsell develop this exciting Cubs roster into a contender. However, I expect the process to take a couple seasons. Patience is not something those in Chicago may want to hear, but trust me, it is going to pay off in the end.

Chicago is going to win the NL Central in 2024 over a rising Reds team and a resurgent St. Louis Cardinals squad. With that said, I do not see the Cubs going very far in October.

Give Counsell time to build his staff in Chicago and attract a few more free agents. This roster was able to avoid a rebuild, something no one thought possible just a season ago.

The Cubs are in position to form a long-term dynasty filled with consistency.

And yes, I do believe this process is going to work out eventually.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs (90-72)

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