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State of the NL Central: August 7

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The Cubs maintain their division lead.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are still in it to win it, holding onto their number one spot in spite of a relatively lackluster week last week. The Brewers, meanwhile, had a decent enough week themselves and don’t appear to be ready to give up the hunt just yet.

The Reds, however, appear to have given up on winning in general.

Let’s have a look at how last week shook out in the NL Central.

Chicago Cubs 65-47

The Cubs split their two-game series against the Pirates last week, just before the Pirates became the Tampa Bay Rays North by trading for Chris Archer and later Adeiny Hechavarría. Unfortunately they then went on to split their four-game series against the Padres as well, giving them only three wins for the week, which isn’t the kind of record they need if they hope to keep the Brewers off their heels.

They started this week better with a win against the Royals, but they’ll need to keep it up for two more games. They’ll then host the Nationals at Wrigley for a three-game set, so let’s hope they do better against the floundering Washington team than they did against the Padres.

Up Next: @ Royals (2 games); vs Nationals (3 games)

Milwaukee Brewers 65-50

The Brewers also had a split four-game series against a California team this past week, but lost at least one game in truly spectacular fashion. That a 21-5 loss wasn’t the WORST score of the week is really saying something (congrats to the Mets on their 25-4 loss to the Nationals). The Brewers then took two of three against the Rockies, edging them a hair closer to first place.

They’ll start a three-game series against the Padres tonight, hoping to fare better than the Cubs did, and follow that up with a three-game series against the Braves, another team hoping to climb back to first place in their division.

Up Next: vs Padres (3 games); @ Braves (3 games)

St Louis Cardinals 58-55

The Rockies were making the rounds through the NL Central last week, and the Cardinals fared the best of anyone, winning three of the four games they played against the Colorado team. They then took two of three from the Pirates, which was enough to safely ensconce the St. Louis club in third place.

This week they already lost their first game to the Miami Marlins and will hope to balance things out in the following two. They’ll end the week in Kansas City for a three-game series against the Royals.

Up Next: @ Marlins (2 games); @ Royals (3 games)

Pittsburgh Pirates 57-56

Last week was all about the inter-division play for the Pirates, who split their two-game series with the Cubs, then dropped two of three to the Cardinals, limping out the end of the week with only two wins. They picked up a few new players at the trade deadline, hoping to bolster themselves, and we’ll need to see how that plays out for them in the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, our old friends the Rockies are playing host to the Bucs this week and have already won the first game of the three-game series. After their stop in Denver the team heads west to San Francisco to take on the Giants in a four-game series.

Up Next: @ Rockies (2 games); @ Giants (4 games)

Cincinnati Reds 49-64

I am finally ready to accept defeat on the Reds season and say they likely will not move into fourth place, in spite of some solid runs midseason. They started the week in a two-game rematch against the Tigers, who they’d swept earlier in the season. The Tigers exacted their revenge, winning both games of the short series. The Reds then lost three of four games against the Nationals. A single-win week isn’t enough to challenge anyone in the standings.

This week sees the Reds in New York taking on the Mets. The Mets already won the first game of the series. After that the Reds head home to welcome the Diamondbacks for three games, a team very unlikely to give up easy wins.

Up Next: @ Mets (2 games); vs Diamondbacks (3 games)