Our beloved Redlegs have fallen to dead last in the NL Central, but there is still a great race going on in the division. The Cardinals lead on the Pirates is down to 3.5 game, while the surging Cubs are only 6.5 games back. The NL Central just might have a really fun race to watch over the last six weeks of the season.

St. Louis Cardinals 78-45 –
Pittsburgh Pirates 74-48 3.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 71-51 6.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 53-72 26.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 51-71 26.5 GB

Chicago Cubs

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The Cubs had an impressive four game sweep over the Atlanta Braves this past weekend. The Cubs on an incredible stretch, as they are 19-4 in their last 24 games. It is pretty tough to still be six games out of first place despite having the fourth best record in all of baseball.

The Cubs have a brutal week coming up. They play a makeup game on Monday afternoon against the Indians, and then travel to California for six games at the Giants and Dodgers. The Giants series will be especially big. The Cubs have a 6.0 lead on the Giants for the second wild card spot (the next closest is the Nats and Dbacks who are 9.5 games back). The Cubs could basically wrap up the second wild card spot if they were to sweep the Giants, and push their lead to 9.0 games with just over a month in the season left.

Oh, and the Cubs have started selling playoff tickets.

This Week:

  • Mon (2:05) vs Indians
  • Tues (10:15), Wed (10:15), Thurs (3:45) at Giants
  • Fri (10:10), Sat (9:10), Sun (8:08) at Dodgers

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers woke up on Saturday morning outside of last place for the first time in 2015. Yes, seriously, they had been in last place every day of the 2015 season.

The Reds have lost 9 straight games, and that has helped the Brewers climb out of last place even though they have done little to deserve it. The Brewers are actually just 11-20 since July 29th. That is just how bad the Reds have been. The two teams will get a chance to fight for 4th place next weekend in Milwaukee.

On Friday night, former Brewer Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter for the Houston Astros. He was of course the “throw-in” from the Carlos Gomez deal at the deadline.

This Week:

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10) at Indians
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates

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The Pirates had an impressive series over the weekend, as they took 3 of 4 from the Giants. That pushed the Pirates cushion for a playoff spot to +9.0 games. The Pirates starting pitching was great in their three wins, as Morton, Cole, and Liriano combined to allow just 3 ER in 19 innings.

Josh Harrison returned from the DL on Friday for the Pirates. Harrison started a 2B on Friday, and got starts at 3B on Saturday and Sunday. Clint Hurdle will have some tough decisions to make down the stretch in regards to playing time. He has Harrison, along with Jung Ho Kang, Neil Walker, Aramis Ramirez, and Jordy Mercer all vying for time at 3B, SS, and 2B.

This Week:

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (7:10) at Marlins
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (7:05), Sun (1:35) vs Rockies

St. Louis Cardinals

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The Cardinals continue to have the best record in baseball, but they could be in danger of having to play in the wild-card game. The Cardinals have lost 4 of 7, and the Pirates have crept to 3.5 games back. The two teams still have six games left against each other too.

The injuries keep piling up for the Cardinals. They lost Randal Grichuk to the DL, and now have three OF on the DL (Holliday, Jay). Jason Heyward had to leave a game earlier this week with a wrist injury, but he appears to be alright now. It is amazing how the Cardinals have overcome all these injuries, but you have to wonder if it will finally catch up with them down the stretch.

The Cardinals have a tough week coming up as they look to hold on to their NL Central lead. They play seven games on the west coast, with four against the hot Diamondbacks, and three against the Giants. And while the Cardinals are doing that, the Pirates play seven games against two of the worst teams in baseball (Marlins and Rockies).

This Week:

  • Mon (10:10), Tues (9:40), Wed (9:40), Thurs (9:40) at Diamondbacks
  • Fri (10:15), Sat (4:05), Sun (4:05) at Giants

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

  2. Pittsburgh Pirates

  3. Chicago Cubs

  4. Cincinnati Reds

  5. Milwaukee Brewers

(all teams stayed the same)


Players of the Week

Pitcher: Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.29 FIP, 0.3 fWAR

Batter: Joey Votto, Reds: .368/.571/.842, 2 HR, 268 wRC+, 0.6 fWAR

 

All statistics include games played through 8/22/15, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). 

4 Responses

  1. jdx19

    Seeing Votto’s 0.6 fWAR this week reminded me of something… he’s been vying to break into the Top 5 in all of baseball, but pesky AJ Pollock has been in lock-step with him over the last week or so.

    Also, Goldschmidt, who formerly had what seemed liek an insurmountable lead in NL 1B WAR is easily within Votto’s striking distance now (5.6 to 6.0, I think). But, it’s pretty unlikely Votto will continue this tear all year and also unlikely that Goldy keeps hitting like Billy Hamilton (Saturday notwithstanding).

  2. Shchi Cossack

    Bruce Levine via twitter…

    Jason Motte and Jorge Soler both on DL

    OUCH!!! That could hurt. Neither player is having a spectacular season, but both are significant cintributors to the Cubbies success this season.

  3. lwblogger2

    “He has Harrison, along with Jung Ho Kang, Neil Walker, Aramis Ramirez, and Jordy Mercer all vying for time at 3B, SS, and 2B”

    That’s a really nice problem for Hurdle to have. You may see Ramirez getting some time at 1B as well.

  4. Daytonian

    Maybe Ramirez can even field the ball at 1B in Pittsburgh. That woudl be something that Pittsburgh hasn’t seen all year.