The Cardinals have won six straight games, and have increased their lead in the NL Central to nine games. When the Cardinals reached 50 wins on Saturday, they were the first team to reach that mark in 74 games or less since the 2005 Chicago White Sox. The White Sox went on to win the World Series that year. Meanwhile, the Pirates continue to hold the first wild-card spot in the NL, but the Cubs have lost five straight games. The Cubs now sit 1.5 games behind the Giants for the second wild-card spot.

St. Louis Cardinals 51-24 –
Pittsburgh Pirates 42-33 9.0 GB
Chicago Cubs 39-35 11.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 34-40 16.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 29-48 23.0 GB

Chicago Cubs

cubs

The Cubs were swept in St. Louis over the weekend, and have now lost five consecutive games. The Cubs offense has gone cold, as they have scored just 7 runs in the last 6 games. The Cubs chances of winning the NL Central are very slim, as they are now 11.5 GB. The Cubs have fallen to 1.5 games behind the Giants for the second wild-card spot.

On a positive note, Jake Arrieta continues to be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. After a week of allowing just 1 run in 16 innings (while striking out 14 and walking just 2), Arrieta has cracked the top 10 in the MLB in fWAR with 2.5.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jake Arrieta: 16.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 14 K, 2 BB, 0.56 ERA, 1.73 FIP, 0.6 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Starlin Castro: .259/.250/.296, 7 for 27, 42 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (1:10) at Mets
  • Fri (2:20), Sat (7:15), Sun (2:20) vs Marlins

Milwaukee Brewers

brew

Hey, the Brewers won both of their series this week. They took 2 of 3 from the Mets, and 2 of 3 from the Twins. Despite a 4-2 record this week, the Brewers actually went from 21.0 GB to 23.0 GB. Those stupid Cardinals.

Francisco Rodriguez is probably the most logical selection for the ASG in Cincinnati. Adam Lind has been great (131 wRC+), but 1B in the NL is pretty crowded with Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Votto, Freeman, etc. Rodrgiuez has been terrific, posting a 1.00 ERA and 1.99 FIP in 27 games. He also is a very nice trade piece for the Brewers.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Adam Lind: .476/.522/.619, 218 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jean Segura: .182/.208/.182, 4 for 24, 1 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (6:35) at Phillies
  • Fri (7:10), Sat (7:15), Sun (1:10) at Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates

bucs

The Pirates went 3-3 over the week. They lost a series in Pittsburgh to the Reds, but did win 2 of 3 against the Braves at PNC Park over the weekend. The Pirates continue to hold the first wild-card spot.

Gerrit Cole has been the big talking point when discussing the Pirates pitching (2.16 ERA, 2.73 FIP), but A.J. Burnett has actually been even better. Burnett has cracked the top 10 in the MLB among pitchers is fWAR (2.5), and has a stellar 2.01 ERA and 2.64 FIP.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Andrew McCutchen: .438/.609/.875, 1 HR, 1 SB, 296 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jung-ho Kang: .176/.222/.176, 3 for 17, 5 K, 13 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (7:08), Wed (7:08), Thurs (1:08) at Tigers
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (4:05), Sun (1:35) vs Indians

St. Louis Cardinals

cards

The Cardinals have reached 50 wins before July 1st for the first time in franchise history. It seems like nothing can slow these birds down. The Cards should have easy week, as they play six games at home against the White Sox and Padres. However, the Cardinals will go on the road for four games at Wrigley against the Cubs, and three games at PNC Park against the Pirates right before the All-Star break. Next week could be the Pirates and Cubs last real chance at getting back in the NL Central race.

After Shelby Miller’s hot start for the Braves, it was looking like the Cardinals trade of Miller to acquire Jason Heyward was a bad one. However, Heyward has homered 5 times in the last 10 games, and is now hitting .277/.322/.441, with a 111 wRC+. Heyward’s 1.8 fWAR is 9th among NL OF.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jason Heyward: .348/.423/.739, 3 HR, 215 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Matt Carpenter: .100/.182/.100, 2 for 20, 6 K, -35 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (8:15), Wed (8:15) vs White Sox
  • Thurs (7:15), Fri (8:15), Sat (2:15), Sun (2:15) vs Padres

 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: Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 16.0 IP, 14 K, 2 BB, 0.56 ERA, 1.73 FIP, 0.6 fWAR

Batter: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: .438/.609/.875, 1 HR, 296 wRC+, 0.7 fWAR

 

All statistics include games played through 6/27/15, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).