The season is nearing the midway point and the National League Central has remained the top division in all of baseball. With fierce competition throughout and big inter-division match-ups this week, here is a look at the Central’s power rankings after 13 weeks.
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5. Cincinnati Reds
A little over two weeks ago, the Reds looked like a team that was poised to still battle for a Wild Card spot this season, but after their last 3-7 stretch that included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds are a team that is looking towards a rebuild. With players like Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce on the market, this could be a drastically different looking team at month’s end.
This upcoming week the Reds will head east for a seven game road trip with three against the Washington Nationals before finishing the first half with four against the Miami Marlins.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers haven’t been in the race all season, but they are not playing like a team that is done right now. In the midst of an eight game winning streak the Brewers have been doing everything right on the mound and at the plate. First baseman Adam Lind and outfielder Gerardo Parra are streaking at the plate, while Taylor Jungmann continues to excel in the rotation.
This upcoming week the Brewers look to continue their hot play with a three game homestand against the Atlanta Braves before closing out the first half with a three game match-up against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While they don’t look like a team that is going to get into the race, strong play could help to boost their rebuild.
3. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are coming off of a big week in which they went five and one while sweeping the New York Mets. After a rough weekend against the Cardinals to end last week, they have battled back and remained in contention in the heated Central division.
This upcoming week will be another big test as they finish the first half with seven home games. They begin with a four game series against the Cardinals that includes a Tuesday double-header, and then close the weekend with a match-up against the Chicago White Sox.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates
Just like the Cubs, the Pirates went five and one this past week. They were able to not only sweep the Tigers, but also get a big series win against the Cleveland Indians. On one of the best rotations in all of baseball, Gerrit Cole has rolled to a league leading 12th win.
This upcoming week will also be a critical home-stand for the Pirates as they take on the San Diego Padres for three before finishing with four against the Cardinals.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals had their toughest week of the season, as they lost four straight and won just two of six. But even with their struggles, they remain the top team in the league. With a solid core of young pitching, a lineup that does the little things and a roster that steps up to fill in holes, the Cardinals remain at the top spot.
Just like the week is big for the Cubs and Pirates, it will be a big one for the Cardinals, too. They have a huge eight-game road trip where they will travel to both Chicago and Pittsburgh.