For weeks, even months, the Chicago Cubs had a positive run differential and little to show for it, with a negative record.
That’s why run differential might be a better way to assess a team’s true performance than win-loss, at least in relatively small samples.
Now, the Cubs are 58-54 after a strong start to their second half, and they are just 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the top spot in the NL Central.
As it turns out, we just had to give some time for the run differential to start translating into wins: as of Monday afternoon, the Cubs are the only team in the division with a positive differential (+75).
Not even the Brewers are there.
Naturally, there have been some positive changes for the Cubs after the break.
Record since the All-Star Break:
16-7 BAL CHC
14-8 MIN HOU
13-9 WSH TOR
12-10 SD SF
11-11 MIL LAA
10-10 ATL COL
10-12 KC DET
9-12 NYY PIT
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 7, 2023
Together with the Baltimore Orioles, the Cubs have the best second-half record as of Monday, at 16-7.
Things are starting to click for them, and their surge started well before the deadline.
That allowed them to re-assess their deadline strategy and become buyers.
It’s now paying off: they kept Cody Bellinger, they added Jeimer Candelario to their already solid lineup, they also brought in righty reliever Jose Cuas, and they resurrected the career of Mike Tauchman, among other positive developments.
There is now a legitimate three-team race for the NL Central crown between the Cubs, the Brewers, and the Cincinnati Reds (tied with the Cubs at 59-55).
If we had to choose a favorite, we would lean towards Chicago.
They seem better, deeper, and more balanced.NEXT: The Cubs Continue To Climb In The NL Central Standings