Well, Opening Day is finally upon us. After the offseason and spring training, the games that count are finally here. Expectations for the Cubs are a bit higher than 2022 (74-88) but many people feel they are still a year away from actual contention.
The strength of Chicago’s 2023 roster appears to be the starting rotation. Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon, and Hayden Wesneski all have the stuff to be top-line starters if they can stay healthy. The Cubs are using their excess of starting pitching to bolster the bullpen with Adbert Alzolay, Javier Assad, and Keegan Thompson.
Big questions persist for David Ross‘s squad on the offensive side. The addition of big-name free agent Dansby Swanson certainly helps, yet they are really relying on bounce-back seasons from reclamation projects Cody Bellinger and Trey Mancini to make the lineup productive.
They begin the 2023 season Thursday at Wrigley Field against the division rival Brewers. Milwaukee (86-76) finished just one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the final National League wildcard spot in 2022. They leaned heavily on their pitching especially CY Young-winner Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff at the top of the rotation.
Rowdy Tellez and yes Christian Yelich are still dangerous in the Brewers lineup. They also sent long-time closer Josh Hader to the Padres at the trade deadline last year. It feels like the talent gap between these two teams has closed somewhat, but we will get a better idea of just how much it’s closed starting with this series.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Thursday, March 30 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network.
- Saturday, April 1 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network.
- Sunday, April 2 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee Sports Network.
* 2022 statistics
What to Watch For
- The weather for opening day looks good although there is a chance of rain on Saturday.
- Swanson did absolutely nothing in spring training until hitting home runs in his last two games.
- The Cubs were 10-9 against Milwaukee in 2022, they will be playing six fewer games in 2023.