Central Intelligence

Week 5: Brewers cool off, Cubs win first series of 2014

standings

NL Central Power Rankings Week 5

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 5/3/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week 1): 20-11, 1st Place, 124 RS, 113 RA (+11)

“The Brewers finished the month of April with baseball’s best record, 20-8, and for the first time in six years, a team other than the Cardinals enter May in first place in the NL Central. The Brewers, whose 20 victories were just one shy of the New York Yankees’ 2003 mark for the first month, head to Cincinnati with the biggest division lead in baseball, 5 ½ games over the Cardinals.” from Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers started the month of May by losing three of four in Cincinnati.  The Brewers have lost 4 of 5, and were outscored 34-23 this week.  The Brewers pitching came back to Earth a little bit, entering Sunday with a 4.50 ERA over the last 7 days (including a 5.09 ERA from their bullpen).  The offense was maybe worse.  They posed a slash line of .211/.270/.313 over the last 7 days, which was 28th/28th/28th in the MLB.  Over the last 7 days, Gomez, Lucroy, Ramirez, Davis, Gennett, and Overbay all posted an OBP of .281 or lower.

The Brewers had a rough week injury wise too.  Ryan Braun and Jim Henderson were both placed on the DL, and Matt Garza had to leave a start with a thumb injury (listed day to day).

This could just be a rough patch for the Brewers, but they could also being coming a bit back down to earth.  Losing Braun will really hurt, and for teams like the Reds and Cardinals, now might be the best time to gain some ground.

Brewers Starting Pitchers in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Yovani Gallardo
37.2
32
8
25
10
1.12
1.91
0.4
Wily Peralta
31.2
29
9
25
7
1.14
2.56
0.2
Kyle Lohse
40.0
31
12
40
11
1.05
2.70
0.9
Marco Estrada
31.1
24
10
28
6
0.96
2.87
0.3
Matt Garza
36.0
36
20
30
12
1.33
5.00
0.4

Brewers Bullpen in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Francisco Rodriguez
16.0
7
0
23
4
0.69
0.00
0.8
Tyler Thornburg
14.2
6
1
17
5
0.75
0.61
0.4
Zach Duke
13.1
9
2
18
3
0.90
1.35
0.3
Will Smith
12.1
7
1
18
8
1.22
0.73
0.2
Jim Henderson
10.2
10
4
16
3
1.22
3.38
0.1
Martin Maldonado
1.0
1
0
0
0
1.00
0.00
0.0
Brandon Kintzler
7.0
5
1
4
0
0.71
1.29
0.0
Rob Wooten
4.1
6
4
5
1
1.62
8.31
0.0
Alfredo Figaro
3.0
2
1
3
0
0.67
3.00
-0.1
Wei-Chung Wang
6.0
13
10
3
2
2.50
15.00
-0.2

Brewers Batters in April 

Name PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Carlos Gomez 128 7 4 .293 .352 .569 152 1.3
Ryan Braun 97 6 3 .318 .361 .591 154 0.9
Jonathan Lucroy 105 1 1 .295 .362 .432 119 0.7
Mark Reynolds 86 6 2 .224 .302 .500 118 0.6
Scooter Gennett 95 1 3 .302 .341 .407 105 0.6
Aramis Ramirez 106 3 1 .277 .340 .394 102 0.6
Lyle Overbay 50 1 1 .279 .380 .395 116 0.2
Jean Segura 96 1 5 .244 .277 .344 67 0.0
Khris Davis 105 3 0 .238 .267 .416 85 -0.1
Rickie Weeks 35 0 0 .188 .257 .219 34 -0.1
Jeff Bianchi 40 0 0 .184 .225 .184 11 -0.1
Logan Schafer 30 0 0 .214 .241 .357 60 -0.2

This Weeks Schedule

  • Mon (8:10), Tues (8:10), Wed (1:10) vs Arizona
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs NY Yankees

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 2): 16-16, 2nd Place, 5.0 GB, 115 RS, 104 RA, (+11)

The Cardinals had a tough week.  They lost two of three to Milwaukee, and lost two of three at Wrigley Field to the Cubs.  The Cardinals offense continues to struggle.  They entered Sunday 26th in the MLB in runs scored (110).  The bright spot of their offense has been Yadier Molina, who is hitting .348/.368/.528 with 4 HR, 150 wRC+, and 1.3 WAR.

The Cardinals pitching has been outstanding.  Their team 3.00 ERA entering Sunday was good for 2nd best in the MLB.  Adam Wainwright (2.16 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) is leading the way, but Michael Wacha isn’t far behind (2.55 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).

Outside of losing Joe Kelly to the 15-day DL a few weeks back, the Cardinals have been blessed with good health.

Cardinals Starting Pitchers in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Adam Wainwright
45.0
24
6
42
11
0.78
1.20
1.2
Michael Wacha
36.1
31
10
44
10
1.13
2.48
1.0
Lance Lynn
35.0
33
14
40
11
1.26
3.60
0.4
Joe Kelly
15.1
15
1
9
4
1.24
0.59
0.3
Tyler Lyons
12.0
10
6
11
5
1.25
4.50
0.2
Shelby Miller
34.1
29
12
26
21
1.46
3.15
-0.6

Cardinals Bullpen in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Kevin Siegrist
11.2
10
5
11
2
1.03
3.86
0.4
Carlos Martinez
15.1
12
5
13
6
1.17
2.93
0.3
Pat Neshek
12.2
6
2
16
3
0.71
1.42
0.2
Randy Choate
9.1
3
1
6
2
0.54
0.96
0.1
Trevor Rosenthal
13.1
8
7
18
7
1.13
4.73
0.1
Eric Fornataro
4.2
4
2
2
1
1.07
3.86
0.0
Seth Maness
11.0
15
5
10
3
1.64
4.09
0.0
Keith Butler
2.0
6
6
2
1
3.50
27.00
0.0
Tyler Lyons
2.0
2
1
3
0
1.00
4.50
-0.1

Cardinals Hitters in April

 

Name PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Yadier Molina 106 4 0 .350 .377 .540 156 1.3
Matt Adams 112 2 0 .321 .339 .477 129 0.6
Jhonny Peralta 109 6 0 .196 .284 .433 102 0.6
Matt Carpenter 131 1 1 .264 .366 .318 102 0.3
Matt Holliday 123 2 1 .283 .374 .415 121 0.2
Peter Bourjos 56 0 2 .160 .250 .260 47 0.2
Kolten Wong 76 0 3 .225 .276 .268 51 0.1
Jon Jay 76 1 1 .269 .338 .403 108 0.0
Allen Craig 119 3 0 .220 .277 .367 81 -0.3
Mark Ellis 35 0 0 .133 .229 .133 10 -0.3
Daniel Descalso 35 0 1 .125 .176 .188 0 -0.4

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (7:00), Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10) at Atlanta
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (7:05), Sun (8:00) at Pittsburgh

3. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 3): 15-16, 3rd Place, 5.5 GB, 120 RS,  103 RA (+17)

The Reds had a good week.  They split two games against the Cubs in a rain shorted season, but went on to win three of four over the weekend against the first place Brewers.

On an offense that has struggled (22nd in the MLB with 116 runs entering Sunday), Todd Frazier has stepped up.  He is hitting .269/.356/.490 with 5 HR, 134 wRC+, and 1.3 WAR.

Johnny Cueto has headlined a great starting rotation to start the season.  Cueto is the early NL Cy Young front-runner.  He leads the NL in ERA (1.31), K’s (60), IP (55.0) and H/9 (4.09); and has gone at least 7.0 innings in all 7 of his starts.

The injures are really piling up for the Reds.  I’ll just let you read below.  Jay Bruce is the biggest blow of them all.  Jerry Crasnick reported “Jay Bruce will have surgery this week to repair partially torn meniscus in left knee. Expected to miss 3-4 weeks.”

reds dl

 

Injures haven’t been the Reds only form of bad luck in 2014.  The Reds sit at 15-16 despite having the best run differential (+17) in the division.  The Reds expected win-loss record is 18-13, which would be the best record in the division (using the expected win-loss record for every team in the division)

Reds Starting Pitchers in April

Johnny Cueto
47.0
22
6
50
14
0.77
1.15
0.9
Alfredo Simon
33.2
22
6
22
11
0.98
1.60
0.4
Tony Cingrani
32.1
26
12
32
17
1.33
3.34
0.4
Mike Leake
35.1
30
15
20
6
1.02
3.82
-0.1
Homer Bailey
26.1
39
18
29
8
1.78
6.15
-0.2

Reds Bullpen in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Sam LeCure
11.2
7
1
11
5
1.03
0.77
0.2
Jonathan Broxton
6.0
3
0
6
3
1.00
0.00
0.1
Curtis Partch
4.1
1
0
3
3
0.92
0.00
0.0
Sean Marshall
3.0
7
2
2
2
3.00
6.00
0.0
Logan Ondrusek
6.1
12
5
5
2
2.21
7.11
-0.1
Trevor Bell
0.2
5
5
0
2
10.50
67.50
-0.1
Manny Parra
10.1
11
5
9
5
1.55
4.35
-0.2
Nick Christiani
11.0
10
6
5
4
1.27
4.91
-0.2
J.J. Hoover
8.1
10
9
11
8
2.16
9.72
-0.4

Reds Batters in April

Name PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Devin Mesoraco 53 3 1 .468 .509 .787 256 1.3
Todd Frazier 105 4 2 .247 .333 .441 114 0.9
Joey Votto 121 4 1 .280 .438 .462 155 0.7
Chris Heisey 46 1 3 .256 .289 .372 82 0.4
Brayan Pena 50 1 2 .304 .360 .457 118 0.3
Billy Hamilton 102 1 11 .245 .280 .330 66 0.3
Jay Bruce 111 3 5 .220 .351 .385 106 0.2
Roger Bernadina 32 0 2 .160 .323 .200 60 0.1
Ryan Ludwick 85 2 0 .260 .310 .390 90 0.0
Brandon Phillips 115 1 0 .255 .272 .318 60 0.0
Zack Cozart 94 1 0 .180 .215 .292 35 0.0

This Week’s Schedule

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10) at Boston
  • Fri (7:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (1:10) vs Colorado

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 4): 12-19, Tied-4th Place, 8.5 GB, 118 RS, 133 RA (-15)

The Pirates had a strange week.  They were supposed to play a 2-game series in Baltimore on Tuesday/Wednesday, but both games were rained out.  Instead, the Pirates had to play a doubleheader in Baltimore on Thursday, and they lost both games.  They did go on to win two of three in Pittsburgh against the Blue Jays over the weekend.

The Pirates offense is coming around.  They now have six regular players who have been average or above average: McCutchen (4 HR, .433 OBP, 167 wRC+, 1.5 WAR), Sanchez (3 HR, .339 OBP, 148 wRC+), Walker (6 HR, .357 OBP, 134 wRC+), Alvarez (7 HR, 103 wRC+), Martin (.342 OBP, 102 wRC+), and Marte (.338 OBP, 9 SB, 99 wRC+).  Martin is however still on the DL with a hamstring strain.

What has killed the Pirates has been their starting pitching, as their 4.42 ERA is 23rd in the MLB.  Francisco Liriano (the Pirates ace in 2013) has really struggled over his last three starts, posting a 5.68 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP.

Pirates Starting Pitchers in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Edinson Volquez
31.2
27
12
16
6
1.04
3.41
0.2
Francisco Liriano
34.0
30
15
34
14
1.29
3.97
0.2
Brandon Cumpton
7.0
4
2
5
1
0.71
2.57
0.1
Gerrit Cole
34.0
32
12
26
11
1.26
3.18
0.1
Charlie Morton
31.0
30
15
21
12
1.35
4.35
-0.1
Wandy Rodriguez
20.0
26
17
16
6
1.60
7.65
-0.5

Pirates Bullpen in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Mark Melancon
12.0
7
2
9
1
0.67
1.50
0.3
Tony Watson
11.1
8
3
15
2
0.88
2.38
0.3
Stolmy Pimentel
11.1
9
3
11
6
1.32
2.38
0.2
Justin Wilson
9.2
11
2
8
5
1.66
1.86
0.1
Edinson Volquez
2.0
1
0
2
0
0.50
0.00
0.0
Jared Hughes
2.1
2
0
1
1
1.29
0.00
0.0
Bryan Morris
11.0
10
2
7
2
1.09
1.64
0.0
Jason Grilli
8.0
7
4
7
4
1.38
4.50
-0.4
Jeanmar Gomez
13.2
18
8
10
7
1.83
5.27
-0.4

Pirates Batters in April

 

Name PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Andrew McCutchen 120 4 3 .286 .408 .500 156 1.1
Russell Martin 73 2 0 .242 .342 .355 102 0.6
Starling Marte 117 1 7 .229 .308 .305 77 0.4
Gaby Sanchez 44 3 0 .220 .273 .512 117 0.2
Neil Walker 111 6 1 .235 .291 .431 103 0.1
Travis Snider 73 3 0 .227 .301 .364 90 0.0
Travis Ishikawa 38 1 0 .206 .263 .382 77 0.0
Pedro Alvarez 107 6 2 .172 .280 .387 87 -0.1
Ike Davis 31 1 0 .185 .290 .333 80 -0.1
Jose Tabata 66 0 0 .262 .318 .295 77 -0.2
Jordy Mercer 73 0 0 .167 .222 .182 5 -0.2

This Week’s Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (12:35) vs San Francisco
  • Friday (7;05), Saturday (7:05), Sunday (8:00) vs St. Louis

Chicago Cubs (last week: 5): 11-18, Tied-4th Place, 8.5 GB, 112 RS, 118 RA (-6)

The Cubs had their best week of 2014.  They split two games in a rain-shortened series in Cincinnati, before winning their first series of 2014.  The Cubs took two of three in Wrigley Field against the Cardinals.

The Cubs really haven’t been as bad as their 11-18 record might indicate.  They only have been outscored by 6 runs all season.  Jeff Samardzija (1.98 ERA, 1.24 WHIP), Jason Hammel (0.69 ERA, 2.08 WHIP), and Travis Wood (3.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) have all been good at the top of the Cubs rotation.  The offense just hasn’t been able to help the Cubs.  They entered Sunday with the 26th fewest runs in the NL (108).

The Cubs did get great offensive weeks from Starlin Castro (.500/.524/.950, 2 HR, 308 wRC+, 0.6 WAR), Anthony Rizzo (.357/.571/.1.000, 3 HR, 298 wRC+, 0.6 WAR), and Wellington Castillio (.467/.529/.733, 249 wRC+, 0.4 WAR).

Cubs Starting Pitchers in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Jeff Samardzija
41
38
9
31
13
1.24
1.98
0.7
Travis Wood
30.2
34
12
31
7
1.34
3.52
0.6
Jason Hammel
34.2
17
8
27
7
0.69
2.08
0.4
Edwin Jackson
34.1
37
20
26
17
1.57
5.24
0.4
Carlos Villanueva
17.2
36
20
13
2
2.15
10.19
0.3

Cubs Bullpen in April

Name
IP
H
ER
SO
BB
WHIP
ERA
WAR
Hector Rondon
13.1
9
1
15
4
0.98
0.68
0.3
Justin Grimm
11.1
9
1
13
6
1.32
0.79
0.2
Neil Ramirez
2.0
0
0
3
1
0.50
0.00
0.1
Zac Rosscup
2.2
0
0
2
1
0.38
0.00
0.1
Chris Rusin
5.0
3
1
1
1
0.80
1.80
0.0
Wesley Wright
9.1
9
2
9
2
1.18
1.93
0.0
Blake Parker
1.2
5
3
0
0
3.00
16.20
0.0
Pedro Strop
11.1
8
4
14
7
1.32
3.18
-0.1
Brian Schlitter
7.2
5
4
1
2
0.91
4.70
-0.1
Carlos Villanueva
1.1
4
2
1
0
3.00
13.50
-0.1
James Russell
5.2
5
3
7
6
1.94
4.76
-0.2
Jose Veras
5.2
6
10
5
10
2.82
15.88
-0.6

Cubs Batters in April

 

Name PA HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Emilio Bonifacio 110 0 10 .337 .385 .406 119 1.0
Anthony Rizzo 113 4 1 .283 .407 .457 140 0.7
Starlin Castro 109 4 1 .308 .339 .471 120 0.7
Welington Castillo 84 4 0 .276 .329 .474 120 0.6
Luis Valbuena 69 1 0 .218 .377 .327 101 0.4
Junior Lake 72 2 3 .221 .254 .382 69 0.1
Ryan Kalish 52 0 2 .277 .333 .362 86 0.0
Justin Ruggiano 39 1 0 .229 .308 .343 81 -0.1
Darwin Barney 52 1 0 .136 .255 .205 25 -0.1
Mike Olt 66 4 0 .164 .212 .377 54 -0.3
Ryan Sweeney 59 0 0 .173 .241 .192 19 -0.6
Nate Schierholtz 88 0 2 .217 .227 .265 26 -0.8

This Week’s Schedule

  • Wed (8:00), Thurs (8:05) at Chicago White Sox
  • Fri (7:35), Sat (7:10), Sun (1:35) at Atlanta

NL Central Players of the Month: April

  • Johnny Cueto, Reds: 1.15 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 50 K, 14 BB, 0.9 WAR

  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals: .350/.377/.540, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 156 wRC+, 1.3 WAR

NL Central Players of the Week

  • Johnny Cueto, Reds: 16.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 21 K, 4 BB, 1.13 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 0.3 WAR

  • Starlin Castro, Cubs: .500/.524/.950, 2 HR, 308 wRC+, 0.6 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

 

11 thoughts on “Week 5: Brewers cool off, Cubs win first series of 2014

  1. The fact that the Reds are even in contention, given that list of “Who’s who for the Cincinnati Reds” is a DL list, is astounding. I suppose it helps that the Cubs like to Cub and the Brewers came down with “all our sluggers are hurt”-itis during the week they played the Reds.

    If the Brewers come back down to earth on their 1-run ball game luck and the Cardinals is as anaemic as the second half of April made them seem; the Reds will suddenly seem like a much more viable candidate to win the Central.

  2. The fact that the Reds have allowed the second fewest runs in all of baseball, just shows how good the pitching and defense has been and all while having key players on the DL. If even the pitching staff can get back to full strength and maintain what they’ve done or get better, then this team will be in the hunt for the entire season.

  3. You have to think the Brew Crew limped out of town shaking their collective heads and wondering what the future might hold for a team that has basically had good fortune seeping from every pore during the first month of the season, knowing that the only game they could salvage in the 4-game series was against the scrub team and then they could only score 2 runs.

  4. Cards also have 3 in Atlanta coming up. Hopefully they will have the same fortune there as we did. Brew Crew going to the Yankees. I hope we can use this last series as a launching pad and make up some ground.

    • To heck with making up some ground. Let’s make a statement and start putting some distance between the good guys wearing the wishbone C and the rest of the NLCD.

    • On the other side of the coin, the Brewers were 3-0 versus the BoSox. Any losses by the Reds in Boston become games they have to pick up elsewhere against the Brewers.

      Also, the versus the Reds, the Cards are playing with house money in Atlanta.

  5. It is important (to the rest of the division) that the Brewers seem to have hit a little bit of a speed bump because they were on a pace which would have made them very hard if not impossible to catch. Even if they play .500 the for rest of this season, they will likely be in the mix to the end unless the Cards or Reds experience a 5 to 6 week run to match what the Brewers pulled off out of the gate.

    By way of example, the 1990 Reds were 13-3 at the end of April and played 17-9 in May to start June at 40-12. Over the last 4 months, those eventual world champs were very much a .500 club (actually 1 under for the second half) yet were never seriously challenged for the divisional title with the final margin being 5 games. The closest anyone got after the AllStar break was 3.5 games on Sept 25 before the Reds managed to push back out to 5 with consecutive wins and go on to close the deal.

    Wins are wins and there are a finite number to be had. With virtually no teams finishing significantly under .400 at season’s end, it becomes a task to over take a team which gets to 40 or greater in the first third of the season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s