For what many called a weak division, the NL Central sure did drum up some drama here late in the regular season. The Milwaukee Brewers secured the division title on Tuesday, while the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds were right in the thick of the Wild Card race.
There are three Wild Card teams in each league now and really the last two were up for grabs. The Phillies have had a solid lead on the top Wild Card spot for a while. The Cubs and Reds were competing with the NL East's Miami Marlins and the NL West's Arizona Diamondbacks for those final two spots. Two teams would end up on the outside looking in.
Now, it's official that the two teams that fall short of October baseball are the Cubs and Reds.
It'll be up to the Brewers to represent the NL Central in the 2023 MLB playoffs.
The Reds got blown out by the Cardinals on Saturday, officially eliminating their mathematical chances. The Chicago Cubs were able to beat the Brewers, but the Marlins won their game, which eliminated the Cubs.
It's been a very tight race over these final 10 games. But over these last ten games, the Cubs and Reds had a 4-6 record while the Diamondbacks and Marlins had a 6-4 record. That was the ultimate decider. In crunch time, where every game matters more, the Cubs and Reds couldn't get it done.
This marks the first time in franchise history the Brewers are the sole representative from the NL Central. In 2011, the Cardinals were unfortunately also in the playoffs, in 2018 the Cubs were in the playoffs, albeit briefly, and in 2021 the Cardinals were in the playoffs only briefly. Every other time they've made the postseason from this division it was as a Wild Card and the division champ made the playoffs as well.
The Brewers find themselves in good position heading into this postseason. A best-of-three series at home with Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta lined up to pitch is exactly how Counsell is drawing it up and the offense has been performing much better the past few weeks.
While the Brewers are the last team standing in the NL Central, the hope is they'll be the last team standing when the playoffs are over. The Crew is looking to win their first ever World Series title, and in certain previous years certain NL Central opponents have prevented that from happening. That won't be the case in 2023.