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NL Central standings: That’s more like it

The Cubs have creeped their way up to second place.

Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

What a difference a week makes. Just last week it felt thrilling to see that the Cubs weren’t dead last in the division, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were riding high. The will the Cubs are a mere three games back from the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Pirates have slipped down to fourth place.

Let’s take a look at what happened last week to set these changes in motion.

St. Louis Cardinals (18-10)

The Cardinals helped themselves a lot this week by facing two division rival teams, and winning both series. First up, they had a three-game series against the Brewers that they swept, and then they played host to the Reds, winning two of three games there. Taking five of six games for the week certainly helped bolster their trip to the top, while subsequently kicking two teams a bit further down in the ranks.

This coming week sees them visiting the Nationals in DC, and they’ve already won the first game of that four-game series. They’ll then take on the Cubs in Chicago in a three-game weekend series, and the Cubs are certainly hoping to take advantage of that long stretch with an off-day for the Cards.

Up Next: at Nationals (3 more games); at Cubs (3 games)

Chicago Cubs (14-12)

The Cubs had an NL West themed week, with the Dodgers visiting to start things off. The Cubs won two of three of those games against the NL West-leading Dodgers. They then headed to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks and won two of three of those games as well. The Cubs have now won seven of their last ten games, and are a mere three games back of the Cardinals at the moment.

The week ahead sees them play a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners (get a nap in now, folks, you’ll need it for those West coast games). The Mariners are 5-5 over their last ten games, but they’re also only 7-9 at home. After Seattle the Cubs will return home to face the Cardinals in a series that could ultimately be very decisive in the standings next week.

Up Next: at Mariners (2 games); vs Cardinals (3 games)

Milwaukee Brewers (16-14)

The Brewers had an okay week, but weren’t helped much by losing their first series to the Cardinals, dropping two of three games to their rivals. They then went to New York to fae the Mets, and won that series two games to one.

They started their week with a win against the Colorado Rockies and will have three more games against the Colorado club this week. Then it will be a home rematch against the Mets, who are actually 9-7 on the road, so the Brewers are going to need to work for their wins.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates (12-14)

For a team that was first in the division last week, slipping below the .500 mark this week is likely not what the Pirates had hoped for. They were swept in a four-game series against the Diamondbacks, then swept again in a three-game series against the Dodgers. The Pirates are now 2-8 over their last 10 games, and hoping to just break their losing streak.

They might find some luck with a two-game series against the Texas Rangers to start the week, but the Rangers are currently 10-4 at home, and have a better record (14-13) than the Pirates. The three-game series against the Oakland Athletics offers a little more hope. The A’s are 4-9 on the road, and 3-7 over their last 10 games, so the Pirates should have a good opportunity to break their bad luck this week.

Up Next:at Rangers (2 games); vs A’s (3 games)

Cincinnati Reds (12-16)

If we were to ignore the games against the Cardinals, the Reds actually had a pretty good week. They started out winning their series against the Braves two games to one, and opened up their series with the Cardinals with an impressive 12-1 victory. They then proceeded to lose the next two games. Still, though, not a bad week overall. It wasn’t enough to get them out of last place, however.

The week ahead will be an interesting on, with a four-game series against the Mets, of which the Reds have already won the first game. They’ll then see a weird four-game series against the Giants that plays through the weekend and into Monday. The Giants have a similar record to the Reds (12-17) and are 4-6 over their last 10 games. If the Reds luck improves and the Pirates bad luck does too, you could potentially see the Reds move into fourth place next week.

Up Next: at Mets (3 more games); vs Giants (4 games... one next Monday)