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


by - Senior Writer -
The Cubs are still tied in first place despite injuries (Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)
The Cubs are still tied in first place despite injuries (Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports)

We’re nearing the halfway point of the 2021 season, and so far, 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 in the slightest. We’re here to break down the action of the NL Central midway through June.

Chicago Cubs 40-33: 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. However, the injury bg and offensive struggles have bit this team in a big way as of late. The Cubs are still in the midst of a tough June slate.

This past week the Cubs lost three of four to the Mets in New York and then dropped two of three at home to the Marlins over the weekend.

UP NEXT: This week, the Cubs play the Indians (who they lost to 4-0 on Monday) and then head to LA for a four-game series with the Dodgers over the weekend.

Milwaukee Brewers 40-33: 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 struggled but kept pace with the Cubs, getting swept by the Reds and then losing two of three to the Rockies over the weekend.

UP NEXT: This week, the schedule stays light for the Brewers as they have three with the Diamondbacks (although they lost game one 5-1) and three with the Rockies over the weekend.

St. Louis Cardinals 36-36 (3.5 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, and he has been hot lately. However, multiple injuries to the pitching staff, including Jack Flaherty, have been tough for the Red Birds. The bullpen is in shambles for St. Louis, and the Cardinals had an average week, sweeping the Marlins and then losing three of four to the Braves over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Cardinals are in Detroit for two this week and then host the Pirates over the weekend.

Cincinnati Reds 35-35 (4 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.

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. Since we last updated, the Reds swept the Brewers and then were swept by the Padres for four over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Reds are at the Twins for two this week (they lost game one 7-5) and then travel home to host the Braves for four over the weekend.

Pittsburgh Pirates 25-45 (13.5 games back):

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 are definitely showing signs of improvement. The Pirates losing streak got up to 10 as the Nationals swept them, but then Pittsburgh took two of three from Cleveland over the weekend.

UP NEXT: The Pirates host the White Sox for two and then head to St. Louis for four with the Cardinals over the weekend.

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

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