The Cubs have lost 5 of their last 7 games, but still hold a sizable lead in the NL Central. The Pirates have won 5 of 7, and are now 6.0 games back. The Reds have secured the NL Central basement, as they have lost 7 straight games.

Chicago Cubs 29-13 –
Pittsburgh Pirates 23-19 6.0 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 23-21 7.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 18-26 12.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 15-29 15.0 GB

Chicago Cubs

Cubs7

The Cubs have lost back to back series, and have lost 5 of their last 7 games. They still have the best record and run differential in baseball (+110), but their lead in the division is down to 6.0 games.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Ben Zobrist: .375/.423/.625, 1 HR, 1 SB, 182 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Anthony Rizzo: .045/.154/.045, 1 for 22, 5 K, -40 wRC+, -0.4 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:15), Tues (7:10), Wed (1:45) at Cardinals
  • Fri (2:20), Sat (2:20), Sun (2:20) vs Phillies

Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers7

The Brewers surprisingly took 2 of 3 from the Cubs to begin the week. They were however swept in New York by the Mets over the weekend.

Ryan Braun was out of the lineup for 4 games because of a stiff back, but returned on Sunday (he went 1 for 4). The Brewers also had to place Domingo Santana on the DL.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jimmy Nelson: 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 3.75 FIP, 0.1 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Scooter Gennett: .174/.208/.174, 4 for 23, 8 K, -3 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (7:10), Wed (7:10), Thurs (7:10) at Braves
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) vs Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates7

While the Cubs have lost 5 of 7, the Pirates have won 5 of 7, and are now 6.0 games back in the division. The Pirates are also 1.0 game out of the second wild-card spot.

Jung Ho Kang continues to rake since coming off the DL. Kang already has 5 home runs in 45 PA. He is just another weapon for the Pirates offense who is 3rd in the MLB in wRC+ (115).

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Gerrit Cole: 15.0 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 0.60 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Andrew McCutchen: .185/.214/.296, 5 for 27, 6 K, 34 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR

This Week

  • Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (12:35) vs Diamondbacks
  • Fri  (8:05), Sat (7:15), Sun (3:05) at Rangers

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals7

The Cardinals went 3-3 over the week, but they have to be excited about the turnarounds that starters Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake have had. Both pitchers were really struggling to begin the year, but Leake has only allowed 2 ER in his last 3 starts (21.0 IP), and Wainwright threw 6.2 shutout innings on Wednesday.

The Cardinals top prospect RHP Alex Reyes returned from his 50-game PED suspension and made his debut at AAA on Sunday. Reyes struck out 8 batters and didn’t allow a run in 4.0 innings in his 2016 debut.

Jhonny Peralta began his rehab assignment on Friday with Class-A Peoria. Peralta will likely need several weeks before he is ready to return to the Cardinals. When he does return, that is going to create quite the dilemma for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Aledmys Diaz has hit .352/.386/.599 in Peralta’s absence. Joe Ostermeier laid out Matheny’s options for Peralta’s return.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Stephen Piscotty: .476/.593/.667, 244 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Matt Holliday: .087/.192/.130, 2 for 23, 5 K, -7 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:15), Tues (7:10), Wed (1:45) vs Cubs
  • Thurs (7:05), Fri (7:05), Sat (7:15), Sun (1:35) at Nationals

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. Chicago Cubs

  2. St. Louis Cardinals

  3. Pittsburgh Pirates

  4. Milwaukee Brewers ↑1

  5. Cincinnati Reds ↓1


Players of the Week

Pitcher: Gerrit Cole, Pirates: 15.0 IP, 7 K, 0.60 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 0.4 fWAR

Batter: Ben Zobrist, Cubs: .375/.423/.625, 1 HR, 1 SB, 182 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR

 

All statistics only include games played through 5/21/16, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).