The Cubs are trying to stay out of the cellar in the NL Central (Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports)
The Cubs are trying to stay out of the cellar in the NL Central (Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports)

NL Central Standings Update: Cubs battling to stay out of last-place


by - Staff Writer -

We at CubsHQ are here to break down the action of the NL Central periodically as the season progresses. Here is our sixth NL Central update of the year.

St. Louis Cardinals 60-48

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 the 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 given the Cardinals a very potent lineup. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have proven to be one of the MLB’s best duos, with nearly 50 home runs and over 140 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. At the trade deadline, the Cardinals parted ways with Harrison Bader to the New York Yankees, for Jordan Montgomery — and acquired Jose Quintana from Pittsburgh.

Since we last updated, the Cardinals have not lost. The Cards swept the Cubs and the Yankees, putting the Cardinals in first place for the first time in months.

UP NEXT: This week, the Redbirds play the Rockies for three in Colorado and then host the Brewers for three over the weekend.

Milwaukee Brewers 58-50 (2 games back)

Milwaukee has started strongly 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 an excellent pitching staff of Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes — a three-headed monster that stacks up against anybody in the National League. Peralta has faced some time on the injured list but is expected to return soon. Burnes looks primed to be in the Cy Young race once again. Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez have led the Brewers offensively — each with 20 plus homers and nearly 60 runs driven in.

The Brewers sent Burnes, Hader, and Devin Williams to the all-star game. But the Brewers shocked the world at the trade deadline by sending Josh Hader to the aggressive Padres.

Since we last updated, the Brewers dropped out of first place by dropping five of six to the Pirates and the Reds.

UP NEXT: This week, the Brewers take on the Rays for two games and then head to St. Louis for three games over the weekend.

Chicago Cubs 44-64 (16 games back)

It was an up and down season for the Chicago Cubs last year, after losing over ten 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 by 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, 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. However, this team may look very different next week. While many expected Contreras and Happ to be dealt at the deadline, the Cubs only sent away a quartet of relievers (Chris Martin, Scott Effross, David Robertson, and Mychal Givens).

Since we last updated, the Cubs were swept by the Cardinals and then took two of three from the Miami Marlins. The Cubs also took game one from the Nationals on Monday.

UP NEXT: The Cubs will finish their series against the Nationals and then play Thursday in Iowa at the Field of Dreams game against the Reds, and then head to Cincinnati for two over the weekend.

Cincinnati Reds 44-64 (16 games back)

The Reds were one of the worst teams in the MLB early on and have been much better since. 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, who has been traded to the Padres, Tommy Pham, who has been traded to the Mets, and Kyle Farmer thus far. The pitching staff has been led by sole All-Star Luis Castillo, but he has since been traded to the Mariners for a boat load of prospects. Since we last updated, the Reds took two of three from the Marlins and Brewers and then lost game one of a series in New York against the Mets.

UP NEXT: This week, the Reds visit the Mets before hosting the Cubs in Iowa at the Field of Dreams game and finish the series in Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh Pirates 44-65 (16.5 games back):

The Pirates were widely expected to finish last in this division throughout the previous 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 reliever David Bednar to the All-Star game.

Since we last updated, the Pirates swept the Brewers and took two of three from the Orioles. The Pirates also lost game one of their series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks this week.

UP NEXT: This week, the Pirates will finish their series against the Diamondbacks and then head to San Francisco for three games against the Giants.

Stay tuned all year for updates on the NL Central.

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