NL Central Power Rankings Week 22

*please note: all stats outside of team records only include games played through 8/30/14.

1. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 2)

73-63, t-1st Place, 521 RS, 528 RA (-7)

The St. Louis Cardinals are just 20-19 since the All Star break, and have run differential of -7 this season, yet somehow they have caught the Brewers. The Cardinals went 3-4 this week, losing two of three to Pittsburgh, and splitting a four game series with the Cubs.

Yadier Molina returned to the Cardinals lineup on Friday, and he didn’t disappoint over the weekend. Molina went 5 for 13 with 2 RBI in his first three games back. The Cardinals will have a big week ahead of them. They play seven games this week at home against the Pirates and Brewers.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Mon (2:15), Tues (8:15), Wed (1:45) vs Pittsburgh
  • Thurs (8:10), Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) at Milwaukee

2. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 1)

73-63, t-1st Place, 580 RS, 565 RA (+15)

For the first time since July 20th, the Brewers do not have sole possession of first place in the NL Central. The Brewers have lost five straight games, and are 22-30 since June 29th. Over the weekend, the Brewers were swept by the Giants, and were nearly no-hit by Jake Peavy on Saturday (no-hit bid broken up in the 8th inning).

The Brewers made an effort to strengthen their bullpen with the acquisition of Jonathan Broxton on Sunday.

Upcoming Schedule

    • Mon (2:20), Tues (8:05), Wed (8:05) at Chicago Cubs
    • Thurs (8:10), Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs St. Louis

3. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 3)

71-65, 3rd Place, 2.0 GB, 570 RS, 558 RA (+12)

The Pirates have won 7 of their last 10 games, and creeping closer in the NL Central. The Pirates are only two games back in the division, as well as two back from the second wild card spot. Baseball Prospectus currently has the Pirates with a 42.6% chance of reaching the playoffs.

Upcoming Schedule

      • Mon (2:15), Tues (8:15), Wed (1:45) at St. Louis
      • Fri (2:20), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) at Chicago Cubs

4. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4)

66-71, 4th Place, 7.5 GB, 515 RS, 506 RA (+9)

The Reds went 3-3 over the previous week, winning a series against the Cubs, and losing a series against the Pirates. It is amazing what a difference a year makes. Entering September of 2013, the Reds had a six game lead on the second wild card spot. This year the Reds will enter September 7.5 games back in both the division and the second wild card spot.

Upcoming Schedule

        • Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (7:05) at Baltimore
        • Fri (7:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (1:10) at New York Mets

5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5)

61-76, 5th Place, 12.5 GB, 523 RS, 578 RA (-55)

Could the Cubs actually finish ahead of the Reds in the NL Central? Well, it would take a pretty incredible September from the Cubs, but it might not be too far fetched. The Cubs have won 9 of their last 15 games.

Upcoming Schedule

        • Mon (2:20), Tues (8:05), Wed (8:05) at Milwaukee
        • Fri (2:20), Sat (4:05), Sun (2:20) at Pittsburgh

NL Central Players of the Week

        • Devin Mesoraco, Reds: .357/.571/.357, 2 RBI, 188 wRC+, 0.3 WAR

        • Mike Fiers, Brewers: 14.0 IP, 16 K, 9 H, 3 BB, 5 ER, 0.86 WHIP, 3.21 ERA, 0.5 WAR

NL Central August Players of the Month

        • Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals: .327/.387/.525, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 159 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

        • Mike Fiers, Brewers: 35.0 IP, 41 K, 6 BB, 0.66 WHIP, 1.80 ERA, 1.3 WAR

See previous players of the week here.