Suzuki hopes to have a solid second half (Jonathan Hui - USA Today Sports)
Suzuki hopes to have a solid second half (Jonathan Hui - USA Today Sports)

National League Central Standings update: Cubs 14.5 games back


by - Staff Writer -

The 2022 regular season is now at its unofficial halfway point. The offseason was one that brought many question marks about when and if the season will begin, but we are off and running in 2022. As the all-star break is over, we have gotten through another half of the MLB season. The division had a lot of movement throughout the offseason, and the Cardinals and Brewers look poised to repeat their success of a year ago. Meanwhile, the Cubs and the Reds are in the midst of yet another rebuild. We at CubsHQ are here to break down the action of the NL Central periodically as the season progresses.

Here is our fourth NL Central Update of the year:

Milwaukee Brewers 50-43

Milwaukee has started strong to open up the 2022 campaign. Similar to last season, the Brewers are constructed to prevent runs, not really score them. The Brewers are boosted by excellent pitching staff of Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes — a three headed monster that stacks up against anybody in the National League. Pair that with a bullpen that has Josh Hader is a very hard team to beat. Peralta has faced some time on the injured list, and Hader on the Bereavement list, but Burnes looks primed to be in the Cy Young race once again. Early on, Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez have led the Brewers offensively — each with 18 plus homers and nearly 50 runs driven in. The Brewers sent Burnes, Hader and Devin Williams to the all-star game. Since we last updated, the Brewers swept the Rays in a two game series and then split a four game series with the Pirates. Then the Brewers dropped two of three to the Cubs and Pirates before splitting with the Twins and dropping three of four to the Giants before the All-Star break.

UP NEXT: This week the Brewers take on the Rockies for four, and then play the Twins at home and the Red Sox on the rode next week.

St. Louis Cardinals 50-44 (.5 games back)

The St. Louis Cardinals did not make a ton of noise in the offseason, but their 17 game winning streak in September of last season gave them confidence to have a strong season in 2022. Reuniting Albert Pujols with Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina for one more year mixed with the talent that Arenado, Goldschmidt, Carlson and O’Neil have give the Cardinals a very potent lineup. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have proven to be one of the MLB’s best duos, with nearly 40 home runs and over 130 runs driven in between the two of them so far, with Goldschmidt firmly in the MVP race. On the mound, Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright have carried the weight. St. Louis led the National League central with five all-stars: Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Albert Pujols as a legacy selection, Ryan Hesley and Miles Mokolas. Since we last updated, the Cardinals took two of three from Miami and then dropped two of three to the Phillies. Then the redbirds dropped three of four to the Braves and split a four game series against the Phillies. The Cardinals then dropped two of three to the Dodgers and beat the Reds twice to close out the first half.

UP NEXT: The Cardinals start the second half on the road in Cincinnati, Toronto and Washington to close out the month.

Pittsburgh Pirates 39-54 (11 games back):

The Pirates were widely expected to finish last in this division over the course of the last few years, but the progress they have made over the years does not pencil them in as a bottom feeder in this division. So far, the team is below .500 with solid contributions around the field. Bryan Reynolds has led things so far for the Pirates, but Jack Suwinski’s 14 home runs lead all rookies. The Pirates also sent releiver David Bednar to the All-Star game. Since we last updated, the Pirates dropped two out of three to the Nationals. Then the Pirates dropped three of four with the Brewers, split two with the Yankees, split two with the Reds, took two of three from the Brewers, split four with the Marlins, and then dropped two of three to the Rockies before the All-Star break.

UP NEXT: To open up the second half, the Pirates play the Marlins, the Cubs and the Phillies to close out the month of July.

Chicago Cubs 35-57 (14.5 games back):

It was an up and down season for the Chicago Cubs last year, after losing over 10 players at the trading deadline and building toward the future. The rebuild is far from over but the Cubs are now in that transition to a new team, with Marcus Stroman and Nick Madrigal as the main newcomers to go along with the early favorite for rookie of the year: Seiya Suzuki. But, all three have struggled to stay on the field in their first year with Chicago. Instead it has been the spark provided from rookie Christopher Morel and Willson Contreras being the best catcher in baseball that has kept the Cubs afloat. Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ are also enjoying breakout campaigns. The Cubs look much different so far, but they hope the next great Cubs team isn’t too far away. The Cubs had two players represent them in the all-star game, staring catcher Willson Contreras and Ian Happ. Since we last updated, the Cubs took two of three from the Reds, two out of three from the Red Sox and two of three from the Brewers before dropping nine straight to the Dodgers, Orioles and Mets before winning the last game of the first half over the Mets.

UP NEXT: The Cubs will finish July with the Phillies on the road, the Pirates at home and then the Giants in San Francisco.

Cincinnati Reds 34-57 (15 games back):

The Reds have been the MLB’s worst team early on. After nearly making the playoffs and having multiple breakout seasons offensively, the Reds have said goodbye to Nicholas Castellanos, Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez and their lineup has struggled mightily early on. Joey Votto is struggling, as the Reds offense has been led by Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham and Kyle Farmer thus far. The pitching staff has been led by sole All-Star Luis Castillo. Since we last updated, the Reds dropped two of three to the Cubs, Braves and Mets. Then the reds split two with the Pirates, swept the Rays and took two of three from the Yankees before dropping two to the St. Louis Cardinals.

UP NEXT: This week the Reds host the Cardinals, Marlins and Orioles to close out July.

Stay Tuned all year for updates on the NL Central.

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