The trading deadline has passed and while many of the contenders in the National League Central didn’t make drastic moves, both the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds will have a completely different rebuilt look heading into the rest of the season. Here is a look at how the division stacks up after 17 weeks.
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5. Milwaukee Brewers
After a two week stay in the fourth spot in our rankings, the Brewers have returned to the bottom. After shipping off Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gomez before the deadline, their offense is now even more punchless. The young pitching has been outstanding in the rotation, but with bats like Shane Peterson and Hernan Perez seeing everyday playing time and a bench of Logan Schafer and Hector Gomez, runs are going to be hard to come by. Though they hung in during most games this week, they went just 1-6.
This upcoming week the Brewers continue their home-stand with four games against the San Diego Padres before finishing up with the St. Louis Cardinals.
4. Cincinnati Reds
Just like the Brewers the Reds have a whole new look, mainly in their rotation. With Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto gone the Reds will be understaffed in the rotation the rest of the way. Even with the losses to the staff, the strong week from the Reds helped them get back into the fourth spot. They not only split a four game series with the Pirates this weekend, but they were able to win two out of three against the Cardinals to start the week.
This upcoming week the Reds have another big three game match-up against the Cardinals before heading to Arizona this weekend for a three game series.
3. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs didn’t make any major roster moves, but they instead chose to rely on their young bats that have gotten them this far already this season. Though they have one of the youngest lineups in the league, they have continued to pile up victories and were the playoffs to start today they would be in a deadlock for the second wild-card with the San Francisco Giants. This past week they won six of seven, including five straight to close out the week. While they are rolling, the health of Kris Bryant, who left Sunday’s game early will be very important going forward.
This week the Cubs have huge match-ups as they not only take on the Pittsburgh Pirates for three, but they also head home for a four game series against the Giants to close the week.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates
With a four and two week, the Pirates remain one of the best teams in baseball. Having arguably the best pitcher in the division in Gerrit Cole and one of the best position players in the Central in Andrew McCutchen, the team remains in the drivers seat for the NL Wild Card.
This upcoming week they face a very difficult home-stand as they are set to take on the Cubs and Dodgers in three game series.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
After a rare series loss to start the week, the Cardinals are rolling again. Winning three of their last four, the team still remains the best in baseball. This past week they added Brandon Moss to fill a big hole at first base and with one of the best rotations in baseball, don’t expect them to falter any time soon.
This week the Cardinals will battle the bottom half of the NL Central as they travel to Cincinnati and Milwaukee for three game series.