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Central looks to be a two team race

If you go back a month, Major League Baseball was just wrapping up the All-Star break and the National League Central was shaping up to be an entertaining four-team race.  Entering Monday’s action, two teams have continued the race while two teams faded.

Here is what the Central looked like the morning of July 18th
- Brewers 53-43
- Cardinals 52-44 (1 GB)
- Reds 51-44 (1.5 GB)
- Pirates 49-46 (3.5 GB)

Here is what the Central looks like the morning of August 18th
- Brewers 70-55
- Cardinals 66-57 (3 GB)
- Pirates 64-60 (5.5 GB)
- Reds 61-63 (8.5 GB)

The Brewers have navigated through a daunting stretch of opponents to build on their lead over the last month.  Milwaukee had 29-games over their time with only 8-games against teams not in playoff contention:  L.A Dodgers (6), San Francisco (3), Washington (3), St. Louis (3), Cincinnati (3) and Tampa Bay (3).  Milwaukee was 13-8 in those games.

St. Louis has been streaky.  In the last month, they lost 4, then won 4 of 5, then lost 4 of 5, and currently have won 4 of 5.  Out of the teams in the race, the Cardinals were the most active at the trade deadline bringing in pitchers Justin Masterson and John Lackey. With 6-games left against Milwaukee, St. Louis is still very much in striking distance.

Pittsburgh hung strong until the last week.  As Milwaukee has rattled off 4-straight wins, the Pirates have dropped 5-straight.  Reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen is on the DL with a rib injury but could be back soon.  The Pirates biggest series of the year could be this weekend in Milwaukee.  A sweep either way could determine the rest of their season.

The wheels have completely fallen off for the Reds.  Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto are hurt while Jay Bruce looks lost.  A 10-19 month has put them well out of the picture.  They do have 10-games left with St. Louis and 6-game left with Milwaukee.  They would have to play themselves back in the race in those games, which seems unlikely.

The race may not be involving as many cars as we thought, but when it’s the Brewers and Cardinals, it usually is a must see.

posted : August, 18th by WSCO

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