Here are the NL Central standings, heading into play today, Friday June 17th.

Team WPct GB
MIL 0.557
STL 0.543 1
CIN 0.529 2
PIT 0.515 3

The Milwaukee Brewers hold a slim lead in the division and are currently on pace for a 90-win season. St. Louis and Cincinnati have each been in first place this season. This has been considered a 3-team race from the beginning of the season…but is this shaping up to be a 4-team division race?

The 4th-place Pittsburgh Pirates are closer to 1st place than they are to 5th place. In the past 10 years, the Pirates have never been above .500 this late in the season. The only time in the past decade that the Pirates had a .500 record in June was 2005 (June 11th being the last day that they saw .500 that year.) However, they finished that season with a terrible second half – ending up with just 67 wins, 6th place, and 33 games back in the division.

This season the Pirates have allowed the fewest runs in the division but have also scored the fewest. Their RS/RA (258/263) suggest a .500 win team is about right. Are the 2011 Pirates legitimate, or are they destined for another second half drop-off?