NL Central Weekly: Cubs tied for first place with Brewers


by - Staff Writer -
Cubs are currently tied for first place (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)
Cubs are currently tied for first place (Kamil Krzaczynski - 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 38-28: 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 young players like Patrick Wisdom and Sergio Alcantara. Entering June, the Cubs began a tough stretch that featured the NL West-leading Padres and Giants, followed by the Padres again and the Cardinals. The Cubs took two of three from San Diego and swept away the Cardinals over the weekend at Wrigley Field.

UP NEXT: The Cubs head to New York for four games against the NL East-leading New York Mets (whom they lost to 5-2 on Monday) and then host the Marlins for three over the weekend at Wrigley.

Milwaukee Brewers 38-28: 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 Brewers took two of three from the Reds the past week and then swept the Pirates over the weekend.

UP NEXT: This week, the Brewers host the Reds for three (they lost game one of the series) and then head to Colorado for four over the weekend against the Rockies.

Cincinnati Reds 33-31 (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. 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 lost two of three against the Brewers and swept a weekend series with the Rockies.

UP NEXT The Reds are at the Brewers for three this week (they took game one 10-2) and then travel to San Diego to take on the Padres for four over the weekend.

St. Louis Cardinals 33-33 (5 games back):

After spending most of May in first place in the NL Central, the Cardinals have faltered a bit and sit in fourth 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, have been tough to recover from for the Red Birds. The bullpen is in shambles for St. Louis, and the Cardinals split a two-game series with Cleveland and were swept by the Cubs over the weekend, dropping them to fourth in the division.

UP NEXT: The Cardinals host the Marlins this week (whom they beat 4-2 on Monday) and head to Atlanta for four over the weekend.

Pittsburgh Pirates 23-42 (14.5 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. Regardless of placement in the division, the Pirates are definitely showing signs of improvement. The Pirates have lost eight in a row, including all six against the Dodgers and Brewers this past week.

UP NEXT: The Pirates travel to DC to take on the Nationals (who beat them 3-2 on Monday), are off Thursday, and then host Cleveland for three over the weekend.

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

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