NL Central Power Rankings Week 25
1. St. Louis Cardinals (last week: 1)
The Cardinals will enter the final week of 2014 with a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals have already clinched at least a spot in the wild-card game, but they certainly want to avoid playing in that.
The Cardinals schedule over the final week is certainly favorable (Cubs, Diamondbacks), but they will be on the road. If the Cardinals can go 4-2, they would have to like their chances. The Pirates would have to go 6-1 just to force a 1-game playoff for the NL Central (loser would then play in the wild-card game).
- Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (8:05) at Chicago Cubs
- Fri (9:40), Sat (8:10), Sun (4:10) at Arizona
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (last week: 2)
The Pirates took care of business over the weekend, taking two of three from the Brewers. The Pirates magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now just 3. If the Pirates went just 2-4 this week, the Brewers would have to go 6-0 just to tie them. The Pirates are currently tied with the Giants in the wild card race. It looks like whoever finishes ahead will host the wild card game. The good news for the Pirates is that they hold the tiebreaker with the Giants, so if the two teams end up tied, the Pirates would host the wild card game for a second straight season.
The Pirates still have a shot at the NL Central title, and avoiding playing in the wild card game. The Pirates would realistically have to go 5-2 this week to have a shot.
- Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (7;10) at Atlanta
- Fri (7:10), Sat (1:05), Sun (1:10) at Cincinnati
3. Milwaukee Brewers (last week: 3)
On June 28th, the Brewers were 51-32, and had the best record in the National League. The Brewers were four games better than anyone else in the NL (Giants were next at 47-35), and only 0.5 behind the Oakland A’s (strangely enough) for the best record in all of baseball.
Since then, the Brewers are 29-43, and have been eliminated in the NL Central.
After losing two of three over the weekend in Pittsburgh, it looks like the Brewers season is over. The Brewers are 4.5 games back of the second wild card spot with just six games left. The Brewers would probably have to win every single game the rest of the way, and have either the Pirates or Giants absolutely collapse to have a chance.
- Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) at Cincinnati
- Fri (8:10), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) vs Chicago Cubs
4. Cincinnati Reds (last week: 4)
If you are a regular reader of this site, you know how bad the Reds have been in the second half. I’ll spare you.
- Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (12:35) vs Milwaukee
- Fri (7:10), Sat (1:05), Sun (1:10) vs Pittsburgh
5. Chicago Cubs (last week: 5)
The Cubs are still holding out hope to avoid finishing last in the NL Central. After the Reds second half disaster, the Cubs now trail the Reds by just 3.0 games going into the final week of the season.
Jorge Soler has been a very pleasant surprising September call-up for the Cubs. Soler has hit .344/.380/.703 with 5 HR, 18 RBI, 193 wRC+, and 0.9 WAR in 71 PA for the Cubs.
- Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (8:05) vs St. Louis
- Fri (8:1), Sat (7:10), Sun (2:10) at Milwaukee
NL Central Players of the Week
Chris Coghlan, Cubs: .458/.481/.833, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 258 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 9.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.22 WHIP, 0.57 FIP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K, 0.6 WAR