The Chicago Cubs will begin the 2023 MLB season with a three-game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, March 30. This is followed by a quick three-game set in Cincinnati against the Reds before the Cubs are back at Wrigley Field for a pair of series against American League foes in the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.
Here are three questions for the Cubs ahead of the 2023 season.
Three Key Questions
Can the Cubs find stability?
The Cubs had too many positions in 2022 that ran through too many players. There were seven different players that spent at least ten games at second base. There were five guys playing at least 19 games in center field, but not one was able to play more than 50. The offseason moves have sought to address this. Shortstop signing Dansby Swanson will push Nico Horner to second base. Cody Bellinger should be the center fielder that the Cubs were never able to lock in on last season. The moves look good on paper, but will they pan out and give the Cubs the consistent playing time needed in those spots?
Will Seiya Suzuki put a complete season together?
After an April where he was the top National League rookie, Suzuki suffered a slump as pitchers got used to his style of play. Suzuki has a powerful bat and outstanding strike zone judgment, but there was always going to be an adjustment period during his debut year in the majors. Throw in a 35-game injury absence that couldn’t have come at a worse time, and things weren’t looking great. His swing decisions improved after his injury, and it will be interesting to see his progress and if he can up his WAR number of 2.0 in his second season.
What will the new (balanced) schedule do?
Teams from strong divisions have welcomed that the MLB teams will play everyone else in the league for the first time this year. This is not the case for the Cubs, given that the National League Central is widely regarded as one of the worst – if not the worst – division in baseball. The Cardinals won the division with 93 wins in 2022, while the Pirates and the Reds were two of just four teams across all of baseball to lose 100 or more games. The Cubs will also play the division rivals less, with their usual 18-game minimum against the Cards being refused to just 13 games this season.