The National League Central is the best in baseball. With all three top teams hitting their strides, the division continues to look like they will have three playoff teams come October. Here is a look at the Central power rankings after 18 weeks.
5. Cincinnati Reds
It has been a back and fourth battle between the Reds and Brewers for the final spot lately and after a poor week, the Reds have again taken over the bottom spot in the division. With the rest of the season pointing towards the future the Reds went two and four on the week losing two of three against both the Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks.
This week the Reds stay out west as they battle the San Diego Padres for three and then take on the Dodgers for four to finish the week.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
While the Brewers ran into a St. Louis Cardinals buzzsaw over the weekend, being shutout on both Friday and Saturday, they have looked much better as of late, especially on the mound. Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Jungmann have both been excellent over the past month and Matt Garza has pitched much better since returning from injury. The lineup doesn’t strike fear into opponents, but when the bats get hot they can play with anyone.
This upcoming week the Brewers travel to Chicago to take on the red hot Cubs for three games before heading home to take on the Philadelphia Phillies to close the week.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates have slipped down to the third spot in our rankings, but they continue to play red hot baseball. At the time of this writing they had gone three and one on the week and were in the midst of a battle with the Los Angeles Dodgers as they looked for a weekend sweep. They lost A.J. Burnett, but with a strong core in the rotation and a team that is battle tested, a third straight playoff run is looking more and more likely.
This week will be another big test as the Pirates head on the road to take on the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets in three games series.
2. Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are flat out rolling as they have won 12 of their last 13 and have moved back into the second slot in our rankings. With young talent about, Starlin Castro has been benched to allow Kyle Schwarber to see everyday at-bats. On the mound Jake Arrieta continues to dominate as this team is proving they are legit.
This upcoming week the Cubs will battle the Brewers for three and then head across town to take on the White Sox.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
If there was any question of where the Cardinals belong, three straight shutouts from their dominating pitching staff solidified their top spot in the division. No matter what injury happens in front of them they continue to churn out victories.
The Cardinals battle the Pirates in a big series to open the week and finish the week with the Miami Marlins for three games.