NL Central Weekly: Cubs tied for first place with Brew Crew


by - Staff Writer -
Cubs and the Brew Crew are tied in first place (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)
Cubs and the Brew Crew are tied in first place (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)

As we approach the 60-game mark of the season — a point that was so pivotal last year — the NL Central has been plenty of fun to watch. Another week has come and gone in the NL Central, and the division has seen a lot of movement throughout. In a division with no clear favorite and an expectation of constant competition, the division has not disappointed.

We’re here to break down the action of the NL Central after about a third of the 2021 MLB season.

Chicago Cubs 33-26: The Cubs still sit in a tie for first place after a wildly tough stretch. Despite struggling early in the season, the Cubs have been one of the best teams in the MLB over the last calendar month plus. The offense ranks near the tops on the MLB since April 17th, and during May, there was not a better bullpen in the majors than the one the Cubs had. Despite numerous injuries, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez have anchored an offense aided by contributions from young players like Patrick Wisdom. However, entering June, the Cubs began a tough stretch that featured the NL West-leading Padres and Giants. The Cubs swept San Diego at Wrigley Field and then lost three of four to the Giants in San Francisco.

UP NEXT: The Cubs stay out west for three with San Diego and then head home to host the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend.

Milwaukee Brewers 33-26: 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 near first place in the NL Central. 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. As Christian Yelich and other members of this lineup return to action, expect the Brewers to keep pace in this tight division. The past week, the Brewers split a two-game series with the Detroit Tigers and then a four-game sweep of the scuffling Diamondbacks over the weekend.

UP NEXT: This week, the Brewers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds and then host the Pirates over the weekend.

St. Louis Cardinals 31-29 (2.5 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. However, multiple injuries to the pitching staff, including Jack Flaherty, has been tough to recover from for the Red Birds. This week the Cardinals won a three-game series against the Dodgers and then dropped four straight to the Reds over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Cardinals are off Monday and host the Indians for two games. Then, over the weekend, the Cardinals head to Wrigley for a three-game set with the Cubs.

Cincinnati Reds 28-29 (4 games back): The Reds have seen some time leading the division, riding a hot offense to a strong start — but have since dropped off considerably. 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. Offensively, Jesse Winker has been phenomenal for the Reds, and Nicholas Castellanos is a league leader and MVP candidate in the national league. Since we last updated, the reds split two games with the Phillies and then swept the Cardinals in a four-game series in St. Louis over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Reds host the Brewers for three this week and then host the Rockies for three over the weekend.

Pittsburgh Pirates 23-35 (9.5 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. However, regardless of placement in the division, the Pirates are definitely showing signs of improvement. Last week, the Pirates were swept by the Royals in a two-game series and then took three of four from the Marlins over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Pirates host the Dodgers for three this week and then head to Milwaukee for a three-game set with the Brewers over the weekend.

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

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