The 2023 MLB season is slowly coming to an end but, the NL Central postseason standings show a race is beginning. Before June, it seemed like the NL Central was dead and the Milwaukee Brewers were going to sail off into the postseason with no struggle. Like everyone says, it’s a long season filled with 162 games — so anything can happen. Once again that sentiment is proving true.
With two months left, the NL Central now has three teams fighting for first place in the division, and one of the three available Wild Card spots. There is an important four-game series between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs starting this week that could make or break either team’s season.
What is the current state of the NL Central division?
Currently the Reds are in the top spot of the NL Central, followed by the Brewers, who trail by a half game. Not too far from that are the Cubs, who are four games back. The Brewers currently hold one of the three Wild Card spots, and the Cubs are three-and-a-half games back in one of those spots.
The Cubs looked as if they were going to sell at the trade deadline, but they have gone 8-2 in their last ten games and have surged back up the standings. A four-game series with the first place Reds await the Cubs this week. If the Reds can sweep or win the series, it may be the beginning of the end for the Cubs.
On the other hand, if the surging Cubs can take the series, they are all the way back in on winning the division, and could take a bit of wind out of the Reds sails. The Brewers are the most consistent of the three, so it would not be a shock to see them staying the course and winning the division.
What is the most likely scenario?
Thanks to the 2022 changes, we saw the postseason expand from ten teams to twelve. With three Wild Card spots, it is possible to see three NL Central teams in the postseason — which did not seem like a possible scenario just two weeks ago. We will most likely only see two of the three.
My pick to win the NL Central postseason race is the Cincinnati Reds, with the Milwaukee Brewers taking the first Wild Card spot. The Chicago Cubs are playing great and are in the hunt, but with the rest of the National League there are stronger teams who will edge them out in the final weeks.