NL Central Weekly: Cubs continue their losing streak

by - Staff Writer -
Schwindel has been a bright spot for the Cubs (Brad Rempel - USA Today Sports)
Schwindel has been a bright spot for the Cubs (Brad Rempel - USA Today Sports)

We're nearing the close of the 2021 MLB season, and the NL Central has been interesting to watch.

We at CubsHQ are here to break down the action of the NL Central as we push toward the end of the year.

Milwaukee Brewers 94-58: CLINCHED DIVISION WIN

Milwaukee has quietly accumulated over 90 wins and has won the division for the first time since 2018. While most people have focused on the NL Wild Card race, the Brewers have continued to win. As September nears its end, the Brewers are closing in on the two seed in the National League. The Brewers have been boosted by excellent pitching performances from Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes — a three-headed monster that stacks up against anybody in the National League, all of whom were named to the all-star team this year. Burnes is making a late-season push for Cy Young as well, throwing a no-hitter earlier this month. Offensively, Christian Yelich, Omar Narvaez, and others continue to hit well. Willy Adames' recent power surge has also boosted a Milwaukee team that acquired Eduardo Escobar at the trade deadline. Since we last updated, the Brewers were swept in a four-game series with the Cardinals and swept three from the Mets.

UP NEXT: This week, the Brewers visit the second-place Cardinals for three (they lost Tuesday) and then head to LA for three with the Dodgers for their final regular-season series.

St. Louis Cardinals 88-69 (6 games back) CLINCHED SECOND WILD CARD

After spending most of May in first place in the NL Central, the Cardinals faltered a bit. However, the Cardinals have been the best team in baseball in September. Adam Wainwright, despite being 42, is making a late-season push for Cy Young as the team has finally come together to win games. Offensively, Nolan Arenado has over 30 homers and is approaching 100 RBIs, but contributions from all over have this team looking complete as the playoffs approach. Tyler O'Neill and Harrison Bader are on fire. This team has found its formula to win games. Since we last updated, the Cardinals have still not lost, sweeping the Brewers for four and the Cubs for four over the last week.

UP NEXT: This week, the Cardinals host the Brewers (they won game one on Tuesday) and then host the Cubs for three over the weekend to close out the season.

Cincinnati Reds 82-76 (12.5 games back) ELIMINATED

The Reds have seen some time leading the division, riding a hot offense to a strong start — and after a tough stretch are making strides back up in the division. The Reds were recently eliminated in the Wild Card race but were very competitive all season long. Last season was all about pitching for the Reds — and the team is still waiting for some strides to be made on that side of the ball, but Luis Castillo has been fantastic for the Reds over the last few months or two so. The Reds also added some pitching depth at the deadline.

Offensively, Jesse Winker has been phenomenal for the Reds, and Nicholas Castellanos is a league leader and MVP candidate in the National League, keeping the Reds within striking distance in the NL Wild Card for most of the year and representing Cincinnati in the all-star game. Castellanos is making a push for a batting title. Not to mention, Joey Votto has been one of the sport's hottest hitters, winning NL Player of the Month in July and staying hot since then. The Reds have also ridden some young talent to success as of late. Since we last updated, the Reds took two of three from the Pirates and three of four from the Nationals.

UP NEXT: The Reds are in Chicago for three with the White Sox (they lost game one Tuesday) and then finish the season in Pittsburgh for three.

Chicago Cubs 67-90 (27 games back) ELIMINATED

The Cubs sit 27 games back of first place after a wildly tough stretch for the team and fans alike. Despite struggling early in the season, the Cubs were one of the best teams in the MLB during May and June. An 11-game losing streak in July derailed the Cubs potential playoff hopes and instead put the writing on the wall for the firesale that saw the Cubs send away Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Craig Kimbrel, Joc Pederson, Jake Marisnick, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Trevor Williams at the trade deadline and now look like a much different team.

Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom have been fun to watch, but the Cubs are not the team they used to be — and a 12-game losing streak in August could tell you just that. Since we last updated, the Cubs have not won, despite seeing some solid pitching performances that are encouraging for the future. The Cubs were swept by the Twins in a two-game series and dropped all four to the rival Cardinals at home.

UP NEXT: This week, the new-look Cubs are in Pittsburgh for three with the Pirates (the Cubs lost the first game of the series) and then finish their season in Busch Stadium against the Cardinals.

Pittsburgh Pirates 59-98 (35.0 games back) ELIMINATED

The Pirates were widely expected to finish last in this division, and after a wildly impressive first few weeks, they have fallen back into last place in the NL Central. Regardless of placement in the division, the Pirates show signs of improvement — with two Pirates starting in the all-star game, although Adam Frazier is a Padre. There has certainly been progress for the Pirates, but they are still a ways away. Since we last updated, the Pirates lost two of three to the Reds and dropped three of four against the Phillies.

UP NEXT: This week, the Pirates take on the Cubs for three (they won game one on Tuesday) and then finish their regular season at home against the Cincinnati Reds.

Stay tuned as we periodically update you on the status of the NL Central.

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