Central Reigns Over NL – Again

Jake Arrieta is one reason the Cubs are now 3rd best in the NL.

Jake Arrieta is one reason the Cubs are now 3rd best in the NL.

Once again, the top three records in the National League all come from the same division – the Central.

The St. Louis Cardinals had a run of thirty-eight (38) straight innings without allowing a run to an opponent, shutting out the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 on Thursday, then the Milwaukee Brewers 6-0 on Friday and again 3-0 on Saturday.

Their luck ran out Sunday night, falling 5-4 to the Brew Crew, but they still maintain a 5 game lead in the division with 51 games left to play.

The Cards return home now for a 9-game homestand which starts against none other than the 2nd place Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Bucs swept the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend – a result which, actually, gave the Central division the top 3 spots in the league.

The Pirates have won 4 straight, but have been hovering between 5 and 6 games back of the Redbirds throughout August, unable to make up any ground.

Similarly, their lead for the top Wild Card spot hasn’t stretched out, because the Chicago Cubs have won 10 of 11 – their only loss in that stretch coming at the hands of those same Pirates.

Chicago entered Thursday with a 4-game homestand against the San Francisco Giants who led the Cubs by a half game for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

That’s no longer the case after the Northsiders improbably swept the defending World Series champs, giving Chicago a 3.5 game lead for that final playoff spot with 52 games remaining and also a half game lead over the Dodgers for 3rd best record in the league.

And that hot streak might not end anytime soon. It’s baseball, sure, and anything can happen, but the Cubs have 13 straight games now against teams with losing records before hooking up again with the Giants (and Dodgers) as part of an end-of-month 6-game road trip out West.

An incredible past week for the division.

* * * * * * * * *

Division Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 71 40 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 44 5.0 W3
Chicago Cubs 62 48 8.5 W4
Cincinnati Reds 49 60 21.0 L1
Milwaukee Brewers 48 65 24.0 W1

Wild Card Standings

W L GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 65 44 +3.5
Chicago Cubs 62 48
San Francisco Giants 59 52 3.5
Washington Nationals 57 53 5.0

* * * * * * * * *

Schedule

49-60 REDS Holmberg (1-0, 3.27)
52-60 Padres Kennedy (6-10, 4.49)
9:10 PM CT

* * * * * * * * *

National League Ranks

Batting Pitching
St. Louis 7th 1st
Pittsburgh 4th 3rd
Chicago 8th 5th
Cincinnati 10th 9th
Milwaukee 9th 12th
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