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State of the NL Central: September 4

Cubs still standing at number one.

Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

As we enter the final month of the regular season, now is the time for teams to stake their claim on a playoff berth. The Cubs remain strong in their number one place in the Central, but it looks like both the Brewers and Cardinals are hungry, and hunting for a wild card spot.

The next few weeks are going to be a tooth and nail fight to the finish for the top three teams in the division.

Let’s see how last week played out for the Central.

Chicago Cubs 81-56

Weeks like these are the reason the Cubs seem firmly planted at number one, and are unlikely to budge any time soon. They started out with a three-game series against the Mets, winning two of the three games. They then won their single make-up game in Atlanta, before they headed to Philadelphia for a three-game weekend series, where they also manage to win to of three games.

The new week started with a loss to the Brewers, but the Cubs will have two more games to make up the difference against their closest division rivals. After leaving Milwaukee, they head to Washington for a four-game series against the Nationals.

Up Next: @ Brewers (2 games); @ Nationals (4 games)

Milwaukee Brewers 78-61

The Brewers are also coming off a pretty decent week, which is why they’re currently only four games back of the Cubs. They played three games against the Reds, and won two, though the Wednesday game was a high-scoring nail-biter that the Brewers edged out for a 13-12 win.

In the week ahead they have the aforementioned remainder of their series against the Cubs, which they already have the first win on. Afterwards, they’ll play host to the San Francisco Giants for three games.

Up Next: vs Cubs (2 games); vs Giants (3 games)

St. Louis Cardinals 76-62

The past week was only so-so for St. Louis, which is the primary reason they’re still stuck in third place in the division. They won two of three games against the Pirates, but then dropped two of three to the Reds, of all teams, giving them only three wins on the week. Not enough to tip the needle in their direction.

The Cardinals are poised to sneak their way into the number two position this week if they’re lucky. They dropped their first game to the Nationals on Monday, but have two more to go in the series, and then they’ll take on the flagging Detroit Tigers for a three game series, a nice 2006 World Series rematch that the Cardinals are hoping goes their way.

Up Next: @ Nationals (2 games); @ Tigers (3 games)

Pittsburgh Pirates 67-71

In addition to their single-game win in the three-game series against the Cardinals last week, the Pirates also squared off against the Braves, who took two out of three wins as well, giving the Pirates a mere two wins combined for the whole week. Any hope they’d had of making a postseason push seems well and truly gone at this point.

In the week ahead they have two more games in a three-game series against the Reds, where Pittsburgh has already claimed the first win. Then they’ll invite the Marlins to town for a three-game weekend series.

Up Next: vs Reds (2 games); vs Marlins (3 games)

Cincinnati Reds 59-79

The Reds are coming off a similarly tough week to the Pirates. They lost two of three to the Brewers, but then won two of three against the Cardinals, giving them a three-win week, which isn’t too bad all things considered.

The week ahead could go either way for them. They’ve already lost the first game in a three-game series to the Pirates, but they’ll then head home to play the Padres in a four-game weekend series, which could wind up the week very nicely for them.

Up Next: @ Pirates (2 games); vs Padres (4 games)