The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be hot, as they have won 13 of their last 16 games. They are however going to have a tough time chasing down the team with the best record in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals 38 wins are 4 more than any other team in the MLB.

While the Pirates currently hold the first wild card spot in the NL, the Cubs are just 0.5 games behind the Giants for the second wild card spot. It could become an interesting summer in the NL Central, as there is a legitimate shot of this division getting three teams into the postseason. Meanwhile, Reds and Brewers fans are counting down the days to the trade deadline.

St. Louis Cardinals 38-19 –
Pittsburgh Pirates 31-25 6.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 30-25 7.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 24-31 13.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 20-37 18.0 GB

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs began the week by losing 2 of 3 the Marlins, but redeemed themselves by winning 2 of 3 against the Nationals. The Cubs sit just 0.5 games out of the second wildcard spot behind San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

The Cubs continue to be lead offensively by Anthony Rizzo (.328/.446/.605, 11 HR, 183 wRC+), who is 8th in the MLB with 2.8 fWAR. On the pitching side, it is once again Jake Arrieta (11 GS, 3.04 ERA, 2.78 FIP), who is currently tied for 9th in the MLB with 1.9 fWAR.

The Cubs got some tough news this week as Jorge Soler was put on the DL. Cubs manager Joe Maddon thinks Soler will be out for two to three weeks. Soler is hitting .265/322/402 with 4 HR, 19 RBI, 95 wRC+, and 0.4 fWAR this season.

ESPN’s Jason Stark wrote an interesting article this week on Why manager Joe Maddon bats the pitcher eighth in the Cubs’ lineup. Stark says this change could net the Cubs over 45 more runs over the course of the season. So, maybe Bryan Price is doing something right for the Reds.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Anthony Rizzo: .407/.484/.852, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 255 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Addison Russell: .136/.240/.136, 3 for 22, 6 K, 12 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (7:08), Wed (7:08) at Tigers
  • Thurs (8:05), Fri (4:05), Sat (7:15), Sun (8:08) vs Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

brewers

The Brewers finally reached 20 wins on Saturday. Hooray.

Ryan Bruan had a crazy planned procedure on his right thumb, and had to miss part of this past week. Braun was back in the lineup on Saturday, and went 2 for 4.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Carlos Gomez: .414/.452/.517, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 168 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Aramis Ramirez: .000/.000/.000, 0 for 17, 4 K, -100 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05) at Pirates
  • Thurs (8:10), Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) vs Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates

bucs

The Pirates had an impressive sweep over the Giants in PNC Park to begin the week, and then took 2 of 3 over the weekend against the Braves. The Pirates have won 13 of their last 16 games, are currently sit in the first wild card spot.

Gerrit Cole is certainly making a strong case to be the NL SP in the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Cole’s 1.90 ERA is just below NL leader Max Scherzer’s 1.85 ERA. Cole is also tied for 3rd in the NL in fWAR (1.9) with Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.

Andrew McCutchen has certainly shaken off his slow start. McCutchen has now cracked the top 20 in the NL in fWAR (1.8), and is tied with the likes of Joey Votto and Buster Posey. All of his 1.8 fWAR has come in the last 30 days, as McCutchen has hit .380/.459/.707. McCutchen and his 212 wRC+ only trails Bryce Harper (262 wRC+) for the best mark over the last 30 days in the NL.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Andrew McCutchen: .455/.440/.773, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 217 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Pedro  Alvarez: .182/.182/.227, 4 for 22 6 K, 9 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05) vs Brewers
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) vs Phillies

St. Louis Cardinals

cards

The St. Louis Cardinals 38 wins are by far the best in the MLB (Houston is next with 34), and they just continue to roll. The Cardinals played the Dodgers 7 times in the last 10 days, and won 5 of 7 against them. The Cardinals pitching was incredible in the four game series at Busch Stadium against the Dodgers over the weekend, as they allowed a total of just 6 runs in the 4 games.

The Cardinals don’t have a pitcher in the top 20 in the MLB in fWAR, but as a whole they have the best fWAR in the MLB (8.5). The Cardinals also by far have the best ERA. Their 2.59 ERA leads the majors, and the next best are the Pirates at 3.08.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Carlos Martinez: 14.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 19 K, 0.63 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jon Jay: .071/.133/.071, 1 for 14, 5 K, -41 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:40), Tues (8:40), Wed (3:10) at Rockies
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:15) vs Royals

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

  2. Pittsburgh Pirates

  3. Chicago Cubs

  4. Cincinnati Reds

  5. Milwaukee Brewers

(every team stayed the same from last week)


Players of the Week

Pitcher: Carlos Martinez, Cardinals: 14.0 IP, 19 K, 0.63 ERA, 1.90 FIP, 0.5 fWAR

Batter: Joey Votto, Reds: .364/.533/.727, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 232 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR

 

All statistics include games played through 6/7/15, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).