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A look at the rest of the 2023 Cubs schedule

Who will they need to beat if they want to make a playoff run?

Adbert Alzolay reacts to a Cubs victory over the Braves on Saturday
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Baseball is a quirky sport. Since deciding to buy at the trade deadline the Cubs have won two series and dropped one. They won a crucial four-game series against their division rival Reds to put them right back in the division and wild card conversation before winning two of three against the Braves, who have been the best team in the National League so far this season. Then they dropped two of three to a Mets team that punted on 2023, a Mets team that looks a lot like the 2021 Cubs, including some of the same corner outfielders.

Like I said, baseball is quirky.

But while there may be victories against great teams and losses against teams who are struggling, the bottom line is that the Cubs have put themselves right back into the mix in the playoff conversation. As of today’s off-day they are 2½ games back of the Brewers for the division title and just half a game out of the third wild card spot. Scoreboard watching is back in style in Wrigleyville, and with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look ahead at what the Cubs will need to do if they want to play in the postseason for the first time since 2020.

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

I’ll start with Fangraphs’ playoff odds, like I always do. They’ve improved a lot since the last time we were here:

NL Central playoff odds 8.10

As of today Fangraphs gives the Cubs a 50.1 percent chance to make the postseason. That’s a big gain since the day before the trade deadline when Fangraphs gave the Cubs a 24.5 percent chance of playing meaningful baseball this Fall. It’s still not as rosy of an outlook as Baseball Reference’s 72 percent shot to make the postseason, but the bottom line is odds are looking up, regardless of your preferred projection system.

But the big question is, what’s remaining. I’m so glad you asked.

Where are we going?

The Cubs have 26 games remaining against teams who were buyers at the trade deadline and 21 games remaining against teams who sold at the deadline. Critically, they have series remaining against both the Brewers (six games) and the Reds (four games), who they are chasing in the standings:

Remaining Cubs opponents

Team Buyer/Seller Current Win % Games Remaining
Team Buyer/Seller Current Win % Games Remaining
Braves Buyer .637 3
Blue Jays Buyer .560 3
Brewers Buyer .534 6
Giants Buyer .539 3
Diamondbacks Buyer .496 7
Reds Buyer .513 4
White Sox Seller .405 2
Royals Seller .319 3
Tigers Seller .452 3
Pirates Seller .452 7
Rockies Seller .395 6
With trade deadline & winning percentages Win % from as of Thursday AM

A few things are worth noting here. While the Diamondbacks added at the trade deadline, they are the only opponent remaining on the Cubs schedule who were buyers, but are also currently sporting a sub-.500 record. If you were to group this table by record, rather than trade deadline status, the Cubs have 28 games remaining against opponents with sub-.500 records and just 19 remaining against teams with winning records.

Additionally, the Cubs still have nine games left against teams with records under .400 (three with the Royals & six with the Rockies). For the record, there are only three teams in MLB with records under .400 (the Cubs already swept the Oakland A’s earlier this season).


The Cubs’ second-half schedule is certainly quite a bit easier than the first half was, but they still play more than half of their remaining games against teams with postseason aspirations. More importantly, whether a team bought or sold at the deadline, their win percentage to date, and other factors could make some teams easier to beat on paper — but that doesn’t mean a struggling team’s Pete Alonso can’t make a series harder than it seems on paper. It’s going to be a tight race to the finish and I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole season came down to three games against the Brewers at Wrigley North to end the regular season.


How many games will the Cubs win in 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    95 or more
    (10 votes)
  • 12%
    (81 votes)
  • 68%
    (447 votes)
  • 15%
    (104 votes)
  • 1%
    Fewer than 80
    (10 votes)
652 votes total Vote Now