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NL Central Update: Brewers edge out a lead, but the Cardinals are on their heels

The Cubs aren’t alone at the bottom, this week

Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

A new season means the return of your weekly NL Central update, where we take a look at what went right and what went wrong inside the Cubs division, and what we can look forward to in the coming week.

Not a lot of surprises this week in the NL Central. The Cardinals are a half game back of the Brewers, and the Cubs and Reds are not only tied for fourth, but they also have the same record over their last 10 games: 4-6.

Let’s see how the last week looked for the Central.

Milwaukee Brewers (10-6)

Where the Cubs seemed to have great luck against the Los Angeles Angels (see below), the Brewers couldn’t seem to make anything work against the West Coast club. The Angels swept the Brewers over three games in Anaheim. The Brewers then continued their California tour with a visit to the Dodgers, where they were able to win two of three.

They’ll get a brief reprieve early in the week to play the Cardinals — a series that will matter a lot as far as next week’s standings are concerned — before having a rematch against the Dodgers, this time at home in Milwaukee.

Up Next: vs Cardinals (3 games); vs Dodgers (3 games)

St. Louis Cardinals (9-6)

The Cardinals are on a bit of a tear right now, going 7-3 over their last 10 games and going up against the division leading Brewers over the next three games, they’re hoping to have claimed the top spot before the weekend. Last week they were able to sweep the Dodgers over a four-game series at home, the split a short two-game set against the Reds on the road, that series played in Monterrey, Mexico.

This week they’ll head to Milwaukee hoping to ride the success of their Sunday 9-5 win in Cincinnati, then they’ll return home for a weekend series where they’ll play host to the New York Mets. The Mets, a team no one had much expectation for this offseason, are currently 5-5 over their last 10 games and have been red hot at away stadiums with a 7-3 record, so if the Cardinals want to be number one, they have a rough week ahead.

Up Next: at Brewers (3 games); vs Mets (3 games)

Pittsburgh Pirates (8-6)

Cubs fans will certainly know how the Pirates started their week, with the Pittsburgh team dropping two-of-three games at Wrigley. They bounced back with a series win of their own however, heading to Washington where they took two-of-three against the Nationals.

They’ll be taking on their interleague rival Detroit Tigers to start the week with a short two-game series in Detroit before they return to Pittsburgh to host the San Francisco Giants for three games over the weekend. It’s a 2012 World Series week for the Pirates! The Giants are currently 2-5 on the road, and the Tigers have lost six of their last 10 games, so it could be a good week for the Pirates to pull ahead, especially given the difficult week on the horizon for St. Louis.

Up Next: at Tigers (2 games); vs Giants (3 games)

Cincinnati Reds (5-9)

The Reds, much like the Cubs, had a surprisingly excellent week for a team that finds themselves at the bottom of the division. They swept the Marlins over three games, including two shutout efforts, one of which was a 14-0 devastation of the Miami club. Then they split a series against the Cardinals, giving them four wins over five games for the week.

Things are going to get trickier from here. The Reds, who have yet to win a single game on the road this year, are going on a West Coast road trip this week, that will see them face off against the Dodgers over three games, then down to San Diego for a four game series. San Diego is blowing away the NL West right now with a 11-6 record, but luck might be on the Reds side, because the Padres have faltered a little at home this season, doing much better on the road.

Up Next: at Dodgers (3 games); at Padres (4 games)

Chicago Cubs (5-9)

The Cubs actually had a very solid week last week that could have gone even better had they not been snowed out of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. They started the week off against the Pirates, winning two of three games, including two shutouts (one a whopping 10-0 victory). They then split their abbreviated series against the Angels with a game apiece, though Saturday’s loss was by a mere single run.

Coming up they have more opportunities to prove themselves, facing the Miami Marlins for a three-game series. The Marlins are 2-8 in their last 10 games and only 3-7 at home, giving the Cubs a real shot to take home some wins this week. Then the Cubs return home for a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks who seem to be having similar luck to the Cubs right now, so it should be a pretty evenly matched series.

Up Next: at Marlins (3 games); vs Diamondbacks (3 games).