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N.L. Central Update: The fight for the middle continues

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At least the Cubs have more than a one-game lead!

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We’re back with the weekly N.L. Central update! Did you miss it?

The Cubs remained on top last week, and are sitting with a two-game lead over the Cardinals at the moment, and having gone 7-3 over their last 10, should perhaps consider bringing their home jerseys on the road with them more often.

Let’s see what went right and wrong in the Central last week, and what to expect over the coming days.

Chicago Cubs 64-54

The week started out with an interleague series against the Oakland Athletics at home. The Cubs won two of the three games. They then packed up their home whites and headed down to Cincinnati, where they were able to split a four-game series against the Reds at two games apiece.

In the coming week, they’ll enjoy a well-earned off day on Monday before heading to Pennsylvania to play every team in the state. They’ll kick things off in Philadelphia against the Phillies, who are now in fourth place in the NL East (what are you up to Mets?!) and are only 3-7 over their last 10. The Pirates, as we’ll shortly see, aren’t having much fun at the moment, going 1-9 over their last 10 and dropping even further behind the Reds this past week. Should be a good week for the Cubs.

Up Next: at Phillies (3 games); at Pirates (3 games)

St. Louis Cardinals 61-55

It was a case of famine and feast for the Cardinals this past week. The started things off on the West coast against the Dodgers, where they were swept in a three-game series. They then returned home to take on the Pirates, where they were able to sweep that three-game series, giving them an even three wins, three losses for the week which was enough to maintain second place.

Coming up they’ll have a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals, who are 3-7 over their last 10. Over the weekend it will be a four-game series against the Reds, which won’t be as easy a task as it might have been a few months ago. The Reds are 6-4 over their last 10 and have a pretty strong 33-28 record at home. The Cards will need to sweep that Royals series if they want to have a good week.

Up Next: at Royals (2 games); at Reds (4 games)

Milwaukee Brewers 62-57

The Brewers had a heck of a week, and if their luck continues, it will be a very different story in the standings next week. They started things off against the Pirates and swept the three-game home series. Then the Rangers game to town and the Brewers were able to take two of those three games. So while the Brew Crew is 5-5 over their last 10, five of those wins have been in the last seven days.

They’ll start things off with a two-game series against the Minnesota Twins, and the Twins will be fighting tooth and nail for those wins, as they are currently tied with the Indians for first place in the A.L. Central, after having lead the standings easily for most of the season. Then the Brewers will head to Washington to take on the Nationals, who are currently second in the N.L. East. It isn’t going to be an easy week for the Brewers, which may benefit the Cardinals somewhat.

Up Next: vs Twins (2 games); at Nationals (3 games)

Cincinnati Reds 56-60

Reds, what is going on in Cincinnati? The Reds are now only 4½ games behind the Brewers in the standings, and have taken a huge lead over the Pirates. Last week they swept a short two-game series against the Angels, then split their four-game series against the Cubs at two games each.

In the week ahead they’ll start with a three-game series against the Nationals, before heading home to see a four-game series against the Cardinals. It’s a busy week with no breaks on the horizon until August 22. The Reds will need to hope to avoid any injury during this exhausting stretch if they hope to make any gains in the standings. Cubs fans certainly wouldn’t mind if they won the Cardinals series.

Up Next: at Nationals (3 games); vs Cardinals (4 games)

Pittsburgh Pirates 48-69

As we mentioned above the Pirates have only won a single game in their last 10, and it didn’t happen last week. They started off with a three-game series against the Brewers, and were swept, then faced the Cardinals in a three-game series, and were swept again.

Now they’ll try to bust out of their losing slump this week with a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim. Considering the Angels are only 2-8 over their last 10 it might be a good opportunity for the Pirates to take a win on the road. After the side quest to California, they’ll head home to play the Cubs in a three-game weekend series.

Up Next: at Angels (3 games); vs Cubs (3 games)