Central Intelligence

Week 21: Brewers and Cardinals remain in a tight race

NLC

NL Central Power Rankings Week 21

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 8/24/14.

1. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 1)

72-58, 1st Place, 559 RS, 526 RA (+33)

The Brewers went 2-3 this week, and have allowed the Cardinals to creep a little closer in the division race. Despite the fact that the Brewers have a run differential of 41 runs better than St. Louis, they only lead them by 1.5 games in the NL Central.

Mike Fiers has been a huge boost to the Brewers rotation with the absences recently of Garza and Lohse. In four starts with the Brewers, Fiers has 1.54 ERA, 2.73 FIP, and 0.66 WHIP. The Brewers have won all four of his starts.

Starting Pitchers this week

brew sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Carlos Gomez: .316/.458/.684, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 215 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Jonathan Lucroy: .318/.375/.591, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 167 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Khris Davis: .356/.444/.571, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 175 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Scooter Gennett: .308/.308/.538, 1 HR, 134 wRC+, 0.1 WAR
  • Aramis Ramirez: .250/.400/.375, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 124 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Mark Reynolds: .091/.231/.182, 1 for 11, -7 wRC+, -0.1 WAR
  • Ryan Braun: .217/.217/.391, 5 for 23, 62 wRC+, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (10:10), Tues (10:10), Wed (10:10) at San Diego
  • Fri (10:15), Sat (9:05), Sun (4:05) at San Francisco

2. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 2)

70-59, 2nd Place, 1.5 GB, 490 RS, 498 RA (-8)

The Cardinals keep hanging around in the NL Central race, and are looking poised to make a late run at the Brewers. They have won 8 of their last 11 games. The new look rotation of Wainwright, Lynn, Lackey, Miller, and Masterson will be really tough down the stretch. The recent emergence in the Cardinals offense of Carpenter, Jay, Adams, Peralta, and Holliday give the Cardinals a good enough lineup to compete.

Yadier Molina took batting practice for the first time this week, and could be back within the next two weeks.

Starting Pitchers this week

cards sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Matt Carpenter: .385/.379/.615, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 169 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Jon Jay: .409/.481/.409, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 161 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Matt Adams: .292/414/.500, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 155 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Jhonny Peralta: .240/.321/.520, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 137 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Matt Holliday: .300/.440/.400, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 150 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Kolten Wong: .250/.308/.292, 6 fo4 24, 73 wRC+, 0.0 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (12:35) at Pittsburgh
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (2:15), Sat (8:15), Sun (2:15) vs Chicago Cubs

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 3)

67-63, 3rd Place, 5.0 GB, 553 RS, 546 RA (+7)

The Pirates had their 7-game losing streak snapped on Wednesday, and went on to take 2 of 3 from the first place Brewers over the weekend. The Pirates still remain within striking distance in the NL Central at 5.0 games back, but are much closer to the second wild card spot (1.5 GB).

Andrew McCutchen returned to the Pirates lineup on Tuesday, and Gerrit Cole returned to the Pirates rotation on Wednesday. Those are two huge pieces for the Pirates down the stretch.

Starting Pitchers this week

bucs sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Starling Marte: .417/.462/.708, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 234 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
  • Neil Walker: .381/.458/.714, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 0.4 WAR
  • Rusell Martin: .316/.435/.579, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 188 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Pedro Alvarez: .308/.357/.769, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 216 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Travis Snider: .360/.360/.480, 138 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Gregory Polanco: .083/.083/.167, 1 for 12, 3 K, -41 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Jordy Mercer: .133/.176/.133, 2 for 15, -14 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Andrew McCutchen: .176/.222/.353, 3 for 17, 4 K, 61 wRC+, -0.1 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (12:35) vs St. Louis
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) vs Cincinnati

4. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4)

63-68, 4th Place, 9.5 GB, 495 RS, 489 RA (+6)

The Reds were able to win the final two games against the Braves, and split a four game series over the weekend. That only stopped the bleeding for the Redlegs. The Reds had lost 7 straight games, and 12 of 14 prior to Saturday. The Reds have fallen out of the NL Central race (now 9.5 GB), and are just barely still hanging around for the second wild card spot (6.0 GB).

The Reds are an MLB worst 19-31 in 1-run games this season, and that is a major reason why the Reds (who have a +6 run differential) find themselves in trouble on August 25th. The Reds bullpen has been an absolute disaster. Their 3.98 ERA is the second worst in the NL. The big issue has been walks for the Reds pen. They are the worst in the NL in BB/9 at 4.29 (2nd worst in the MLB). JJ Hoover tied a Reds reliever record with 10 losses earlier this week before being demoted to AAA.

Starting Pitchers this week

reds sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Billy Hamilton: .294/.333/.382, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SB, 100 wRC+, 0.4 WAR
  • Kristopher Negron: .250/.333/.500, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 132 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Todd Frazier: .238/.407/.381, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 123 wRC+, 0.2 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Devin Mesoraco: .048/.130/.095, 1 for 21, 5 K, -39 wRC+, -0.3 WAR
  • Skip Schumaker: .133/.188/.133, 2 for 15, -12 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Ryan Ludwick: .143/.174/.333, 3 for 21, 6 K, 31 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Brayan Pena: .160/.222/.240, 4 for 25, 27 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Zack Cozart: .125/.222/.167, 3 for 24, 13 wRC+, -0.2 WAR
  • Brandon Phillips: .217/.280/.261, 5 for 23, 4 K, 54 wRC+, 0.0 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) vs Chicago Cubs
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) at Pittsburgh

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5)

58-72, 5th Place, 14.0 GB, 493 RS, 539 RA (-46)

The Cubs had an impressive three game sweep of the first place Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. The Cubs pitching allowed just four runs in the three games to the O’s. The story from the Cubs this week though was their grounds crew.

Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta is having a tremendous, under the radar season. Arrieta has posted a 2.53 ERA, 2.41 FIP, and 1.01 WHIP in 20 starts this season.

Starting Pitchers this week

cubs sp

Who’s Hot (last 7 days)

  • Luis Valbuena: .400/.423/.720, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 219 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
  • Anthony Rizzo: .296/.345/.630, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 169 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
  • Javier Baez: .160/.276/.520, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 118 wRC+, 0.2 WAR
  • Starlin Castro: .300/.364/.600, 1 HR, 168 wRC+, 0.1 WAR

Who’s Cold (last 7 days)

  • Chris Coghlan: .167/.167/.250, 4 for 24, 7 K, 4 wRC+, -0.3 WAR

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) at Cincinnati
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (2:15), Sat (8:15), Sun (2:15) at St. Louis

NL Central Players of the Week

  • Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 14.0 IP, 6 H, 14 K, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0.64 WHIP, 0.64 ERA, 0.4 WAR

  • Starling Marte, Pirates: .417/.462/.708, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, 234 wRC+, 0.6 WAR

See previous players of the week here.

5 thoughts on “Week 21: Brewers and Cardinals remain in a tight race

  1. The collapse of the Reds’ bullpen with virtually the same personnel as the rather effective 2013 group (minus Simon) is troubling. What is Marshall’s status regarding 2015? A return to health and effectiveness for him would be a big boost. The Reds are stuck with him and his $6.5 million price tag – be nice if they could get something out of him – he was one of the most effective LH set up men just a few years ago.

  2. Lucas Harrell got released by the Diamondbacks. Anybody else think he might be worth a flier? He had a pretty good 2012 for the Astros: 11-11 3.76 ERA less than a hit per inning 3.75 FIP etc. Blew up last year leading the AL in losses and walks and hasn’t been very good in AAA this year but he’s only 29 and is a ground ball thrower who might do OK in GABP. Talking league minimum and not eligible for FA until 2018. His major league numbers are better than Axelrod’s and the Reds could give him a few starts in September in Bailey’s and/or Simon’s spot and see if he has anything. A lark but why not?

    • it might have been more aptly named the “who’s warm” section.

      I think the demotion of Hoover might be the play of the week. Wins and losses don’t tell a great story on a starting pitcher; but I think losses by a reliever still has some value. Whereas a win by a reliever could just be considered luck especially if you look how the Reds have been hitting.

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