NL Central Weekly: Cubs in fourth place in division
|2021-08-03 15:00:08.0- -|
We’re past the trade deadline here in the 2021 MLB season, and the NL Central has been plenty interesting to watch. The division has seen a lot of movement throughout, and teams are finally starting to settle into their divisional slots.
In a division with no clear favorite and an expectation of constant competition, the division has not disappointed in the slightest — and some teams have gotten much stronger, others have not over the last week.
We’re here to break down the action of the NL Central as we enter August.
Milwaukee Brewers 64-43:
After dropping down toward the middle of the pack in the division throughout May, the Brewers have gotten healthy and received a bit of a scheduled break to battle back to first place in the NL Central. Now, as we enter August, the Brewers own a commanding lead in the division. 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. As Christian Yelich, Omar Narvaez, and others continue to hit well, expect the Brewers to keep pace in this division. 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 lost two to the Royals, took two of three from the White Sox, swept the Pirates, and took two of three from the Braves.
UP NEXT: This week, the Brewers host the Pirates for three (they won game one on Monday) and take on the first place Giants over the weekend.
Cincinnati Reds 56-50 (7.5 games back): 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. Last season, it 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 month or 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 Central and representing Cincinnati in the all-star game. Not to mention, Joey Votto has been one of the sport’s hottest hitters, winning NL Player of the Month in July. Since we last updated, the Reds lost two of three to the Mets, took two of three against the Cardinals, took three of four from the Cubs, and won another series against the first-place Mets.
UP NEXT: The Reds host the Twins for two this week before taking on the Pirates for four this weekend.
St. Louis Cardinals 53-52 (10.0 games back):
After spending most of May in first place in the NL Central, the Cardinals have faltered a bit and sit in third place as we speak. The Cardinals have gotten a nice offensive boost from adding Nolan Arenado to an already solid lineup, and he has been hot lately. However, multiple injuries to the pitching staff, including Jack Flaherty, have been tough to recover from for the Red Birds. A few late trade deadline moves may help the pitching staff, but the Cardinals have a lot of ground to make up. Since we last updated, the Cardinals took three of four from the Cubs, lost two of three to the Reds, took two of three against the Indians, and then took two of three over the Twins.
UP NEXT: This week, the Cardinals host the Braves for three and then the Royals for three over the weekend.
Chicago Cubs 51-56 (13.0 games back): The Cubs sit 13 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 been 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 at the end of the month. The Cubs sent 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. Since we last updated, the Cubs lost three of four to the Cardinals, took two of three to the Diamondbacks, lost three of four against the Reds, and then dropped two of three to the Nationals.
UP NEXT: This week, the new-look Cubs take on the Rockies in Colorado and then host the crosstown White Sox over the weekend.
Pittsburgh Pirates 40-66 (19.0 games back): The Pirates were widely expected to finish last in this division, and after a wildly impressive first few weeks, have fallen back into last place in the NL Central. Regardless of placement in the division, the Pirates are definitely showing signs of improvement — with two Pirates starting in the all-star game, although Adam Frazier is a Padres. Since we last updated, the Pirates were swept by the Diamondbacks, took two of three abasing the Giants, were swept by the Brewers, and then took two of three from the Phillies.
UP NEXT: The Pirates are in Milwaukee for three (they lost game one on Monday) and then visit the Reds for four over the weekend.
Stay tuned as we periodically update you all on the status of the NL Central.