First things first……the movie Central Intelligence, staring Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart is not based off my weekly column. I know many would like to think the movie which debuted on Friday by making $13 million is based off a Redleg Nation column, but that is not the truth. They have also completely stole our title covering the National League Central Division. We are debating on filing copyright infringement charges against them.

The Cubs were swept in Washington by the Nationals to begin the week, but responded by sweeping the Pirates at Wrigley over the weekend. They still however hold a 12.5 game lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals are currently 1.5 games behind the second wild card spot, with a 35-33 record. The Pirates have fallen below .500, as they’ve lost 10 of 11. They are still only 4.0 games out of the second wild card spot however.

Chicago Cubs 47-20 –
St. Louis Cardinals 35-33 12.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 33-36 15.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 31-39 17.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 27-43 21.5 GB

Chicago Cubs


The Cubs called up their #2 prospect (according to MLB Pipleline) Wilson Contreras on Friday. He hit a home run on the first big league pitch he ever saw on Sunday. Contreras is a catcher, who has also played 3B, 2B, 1B, LF, and RF in the minors. He was hitting .353/.442/.593 with 9 HR in 55 games at AAA.

Evan Massey of Forbes thinks that the Cubs should go after Aroldis Chapman. A name that he mentions as a possible trade piece is Jorge Soler. If the Cubs were to add Chapman, that could give them a three-headed bullpen monster very similar to what worked for the Royals. The Cubs currently have two excellent relievers in Hector Rondon (1.48 ERA/1.86 FIP) and Pedro Strop (2.77 ERA/2.75 FIP).

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Anthony Rizzo: .333/.481/.762, 2 HR, 222 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Miguel Montero: .100/.100/.100, 1 for 10, 2 K, -59 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (2:20) vs Cardinals
  • Thurs (7:10), Fri (7:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (1:10) at Marlins

Milwaukee Brewers


The Brewers had a rough west coast road trip. They lost 6 of 7 to the Giants and Dodgers. One of the bright surprises for the Brewers of late has been Zachary Davies. He has a 0.96 ERA through four starts in June. The Brewers got Davies last season in the Gerardo Parra trade to the Orioles.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Zachary Davies: 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.69 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Chase Anderson: 2 GS, 7.1 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 13.50 ERA, 8.32 FIP, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (10:05), Wed (3:35) at A’s
  • Fri (8:10), Sat (4:10), Sun (2:10) vs Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are a mess. They’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games. Their ace Gerritt Cole was placed on the DL on Tuesday. Their best hitter, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .244/.324/.416. It’s not going to get any easier for the Pirates either. They play seven games this week against the Giants (44-26) and Dodgers (38-33).

The Pirates did get a big start from Jameson Taillon on Tuesday. Taillon pitched 8.0 shutout innings on Tuesday. He was recalled to take Gerritt Cole’s spot in the rotation. Taillon is currently the #48 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jameson Taillon: 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.64 FIP, 0.2 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jon Niese: 2 GS, 10.2 IP, 17 H, 12 ER, 5 HR, 5 BB, 10.13 ERA, 8.76 FIP, -0.4 fWAR

This Week

  • Mon (7:05), Tues (7:05), Wed (7:05), Thurs (12:35) vs Giants
  • Fri (7:05), Sat (7:15), Sun (8:08) vs Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals


The Cardinals recent hot streak hit a major halt this past week. They went 0-5, losing five games at home to the Astros and Rangers. The Cardinals offense has gone cold, as they have scored just 10 runs during their 5 game losing streak.

The good news for the Cardinals is that their pitching is coming around. In June, Wainwrigh has a 1.80 ERA/2.09 FIP, and Martinez has a 1.69 ERA/3.23 FIP. They will also get some bullpen help as Seth Maness was activated off the DL on Sunday.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Matt Carpenter: .500/.625/.583, 1 R, 239 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Aledmys Diaz: .067/.176/.067, 1 for 15, 2 K, -50 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:05), Tues (8:05), Wed (2:20) at Cubs
  • Fri (10:10), Sat (10:10), Sun (4:10) at Mariners

 Nick’s Power Rankings

  1. Chicago Cubs

  2. St. Louis Cardinals

  3. Pittsburgh Pirates

  4. Milwaukee Brewers

  5. Cincinnati Reds

(all teams stayed the same)

Players of the Week

Pitcher: Zachary Davies, Brewers: 13.0 IP, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.69 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 0.4 fWAR

Batter: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: .333/.481/.762, 2 HR, 222 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR


All statistics only include games played through 6/18/16, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).

10 Responses

  1. lwblogger2

    Aww, the Pirates have dropped below .500 and the Cards are just above the even mark? Awww, tooooo bad. *End mock-sympathy*

  2. Patrick Jeter

    I’m glad to see Aledmys Diaz coming back down to earth. If the Cards lucked into another borderline MVP sort of guy, I was going to lose it.

    What the heck is going on with Andrew McCutchen? If you were to tell me Votto would be barely maintaining an .800+ OPS in almost July and that would be at least 50 points better than McCutchen, I’d call you a fool. I bet Pirates fans must be angry.

    • lwblogger2

      I doubt they are too, too bent out of shape about McCutchen. The guy has been their stud and his contract is up after 2017. The buyout for 2018 is tiny as far as baseball money is concerned ($1-million). He’s been a great player for them for a good player’s money.

      • Patrick Jeter

        True. His contract is jealousy-inducing.

  3. ohiojimw

    10 games or so short of the halfway point of the season a couple of games short of .500 keeps a team in the legitimate WC mix in the NL.
    A couple of million bucks well spent on the bullpen versus frittered away on Simon (or cumulatively on a number of 4A bullpen guys) and the Reds could be dipping their toes in that pool without having unhinged their rebuild effort. And when the time came, in five weeks or so, if there were too many teams to climb over, they could still have finished the sell off. What’s the old kids’ song say, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” ?

    • pinson343

      There was no reason to assume that the Pirates and Cardinals would be as good as last year, especially the Pirates. It’s why you don’t completely write off a season in advance, rebuilding effort or not.

      Having said that, Scott Schebler is tearing it up now at AAA, which probably ensures that Jay Bruce will be traded soon. Sell high and get a quality return, including at last one player who can help in 2017.

      • pinson343

        … “at least one player” ….

      • ohiojimw

        Exactly on your first point. Not having a solid external “threat assessment” is just another part of the insularity of the Reds FO which Steve often talks about.

        Also agree on the second.

  4. ohiojimw

    Just went to the MiLB.TV site to check things out. I started streaming the demo game to see how it ran on my computer. The game was Louisville v. Columbus (Indians affiliate) at Columbus. Columbus was batting; but the batter looked very familiar. Then there was a facial close up; and, I recognized Tyler Holt as the batter. Obviously the game must have been from last year before TH was claimed by the Reds off waivers. Ramon Cabrera was catching for the Bats. #45 was pitching (no name on the uniform). He looked familiar too but I couldn’t put a name with face. Anybody got a guess?