Our semi-regular column updating you on the best news and views from around the NL Central, so you have something to do while watching the Olympics stream online.
Off we go.
Cincinnati Reds (66-46, 1st, -)
For the time being, it appears that this division is the Red Legs’ to lose. After taking two of three from Pittsburgh, they watched their lead slowly fade in Miller Park after getting swept. The losing streak has piled up to five games. But they still are the team to beat in the Central, and with the dangerous lineup they have we could still be in for a Cincinnati pennant, which is bad news if you don’t like the Reds
If you like the Reds, like the staff at Blog Red Machine, you’ll probably love these stories:
About some really healthy (and well-deserved) Frazier love.
About some really nasty guys.
About hating on Dusty.
About remaining calm in troubled waters.
Now try to get this picture out of your head before we move on.
Pittsburgh Pirates (63-48, 2nd, 2.5 GB)
Nearly every year that I’ve been alive, if someone said “one more good month for Pittsburgh, and they can make a move for the postseason” you would nod quietly and back away, trying not to make a move that would be perceived as threatening.
This year, when someone says that very same thing, you have to find a response that doesn’t sound like your being a bandwagoner – which you totally are. Everyone is. Seriously, how can you not be mildly interested in the Buccos making the playoffs?
With Andrew McCutchen putting up Herculean numbers, AJ Burnett becoming a beast, and Clint Hurdle being – well, Clint Hurdle – the team is built to be interesting. It’s a sappy, old-man column waiting to be written.
Just don’t tell the guys at Rum Bunter, who have their own ideas about the Pirates. Like:
The greatest rec-league softball description you’ve ever heard (and I totally want to steal).
Some tough love for Clint Hurdle.
A recollection of the best Dock Ellis story ever told. [Ed.'s note: it's my favorite, anyway. Dude was bananas]
Some love for the division.
Making fun of the Indians.
As a parting shot, one Pirates fan is giving Front Row Amy a run for her money.
St. Louis Cardinals (61-51, 3rd, 5.0 GB)
The Red Birds are teetering on that bat a little more uneasily lately. After staying close in a hotly-
contested NL Central race for most of the season, they suddenly are losing pace. Seven and a half games back is a steep hill to begin with, especially when the teams above you just can’t seem to lose. St. Louis isn’t playing bad, mind you, it’s just that the teams ahead of them are playing better.
Kyle Lohse continues to impress damn-near everybody. Beltran and Molina have hot bats. Daniel Descalso decided to turn into a double machine against Milwaukee. Injuries still plague the team, but no one seems to care or notice.
Here’s what the staff at Redbird Rants cares about:
No matter what, Cardinals fans – at least you have this guy in your corner.
Chicago Cubs (44-66, 5th, 21.0 GB)
A few years ago, my father took us kids to see the Brewers play the Cubs at Miller Park. At the time, only a game or two separated the clubs between fourth and fifth place. My father, being the man he is, proclaimed the series the “Miller Park Megabowl,” and shouted it – along with chants of “fourth place! Fourth place!” to any and all within earshot. In terms of cleverness and topical humor, it was spot-on and why it didn’t catch on throughout our section is beyond me. [Ed.'s note: at the time, his progeny were fairly embarrassed. You always hurt the ones you love.] It also worked on a more meta level because my dad has a few baseball hobbies, namely:
- Cheering for the Cubs
- Making fun of the Cubs
- Secretly and selectively cheering for Milwaukee
- Making fun of the Brewers
It worked on so many levels.
Anyway, here’s a few choice words from our friends at Cubbies Crib:
Still trading after all these months.
F you, Ryan Dempster.
Still here, Alfonso?
Now excuse me, as I have to finish my dinner.
Houston Astros (36-77, 6th, 30.5 GB)
Um…Houston could probablybe doing worse. I mean, they’re only 1-9 in their last ten games. Things
are tough down there for the ‘Stros – and their fans – with injuries, inconsistency, and the unknown of playing in the American League coming up quickly.
It’s not that the season is over, per se, but I think all parties could agree that if it were to be over, no one would mind terribly. Except for maybe the staff at Climbing Tal’s Hill, who remains ever-vigilant to Houston Astros news, like:
Starting from scratch.
Hoping for the best.
When things get rough, Astros fans, remember you can always turn to the man upstairs.
Milwaukee Brewers (51-59, 4th, 14.0 GB)
I know the team isn’t doing great – though with a sweep of the Reds and the Astros coming up, we’re at least going to have a nice stretch of games for a bit. Plus, there’s currently seven teams who have a mathematically greater chance of being eliminated from the playoffs before Milwaukee – take that Philly!
Here’s what’s happening around the Brewers blogosphere:
Leading off the group, Yahoo!’s Big League Stew shows us what changing speeds is all about for Randy Wolf.
Brew Crew Ball makes some birthday shout-outs.
Brian Anderson’s blog STILL hasn’t been updated. Seriously, BA, get it together.
Oh, and Front Row Amy has a blog. I read it for the articles. Just the articles.
Now that we’re all caught up, we get back to our original goal: trying to figure out what is going on with this.
Happy Trails, Brewers fans.
Topics: AJ Burnett, Alfonso Soriano, Andrew Mccutchen, Bob Uecker, Carlos Beltran, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Clint Hurdle, Dock Ellis, Dusty Baker, Front Row Amy, Houston Astros, Mat Holliday, Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Dempster, Shaun Marcum