The Chicago Cubs can no longer claim that they have the most wins in baseball. They were passed on Sunday by the Giants and Rangers, who both now have 49 wins (1 more than the Cubs). The Cubs have lost 6 of 7, but still hold a 9.0 game lead in the division over the second place Cardinals. Every good team goes through a bad stretch at some point in a 162-game MLB season, and the Cubs recent rough stretch shouldn’t cause too much concern.

Chicago Cubs 48-26 –
St. Louis Cardinals 39-35 9.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 37-39 12.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 34-41 14.5 GB
Cincinnati Reds 29-47 20.0 GB

Chicago Cubs


The Cubs were swept by the Cardinals to begin the week, and then lost 3 of 4 to the Marlins. Luckily for the Cubs, everyone else in the NL Central has struggled over the past week too.

The Cubs placed Dexter Fowler on the DL early in the week with a hamstring injury. That’s a tough loss for the Cubs, as Fowler was hitting .290/.398/.483 with 2.9 fWAR. This will give Cubs #5 prospect Albert Almora an extended look for the Cubs in CF. Almora has hit .267/.298/.378 through his first 47 PA.

We talked about Cubs #2 prospect Willson Contreras being called up last week. He has made quite the splash, as he already has 3 HR, and is hitting .400/.500/.900 through his first 28 PA. Contreras has played a little bit of everywhere, as he has been in LF, 1B, and at C.

The Cubs planning on using a six man rotation until the all-star break once Adam Warren is recalled from AAA. The Cubs recently sent Warren down to be stretched out. The Cubs want to protect the rest of their rotation from fatigue. The Cubs are in the middle of a stretch of 24 games without a day off leading up the the all-star break.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Willson Conteras: .400/.500/900, 3 HR, 266 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): John Lackey: 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 14 H, 10 ER, 6 BB, 8.71 ERA, 6.81 FIP, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (7:10), Tues (7:10), Wed (12:35) at Reds
  • Thurs (7:10), Fri (7:10), Sat (7:15), Sun (1:10) at Mets

Milwaukee Brewers


Matt Garza is back for the Brewers. Garza has been sharp through his first three starts, posting a 2.81 ERA/3.07 FIP. If Garza can keep it up, he could be another nice trade piece for the rebuilding Brewers.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Ryan Braun: .438/.471/.563, 2 R, 181 wRC+, 0.2 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jonathan Lucroy: .063/.167/.063, 1 for 16, -37 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR

This Week:

  • Tues (8:10), Wed (8:10), Thurs (2:10) vs Dodgers
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (2:15), Sun (2:15) at Cardinals

Pittsburgh Pirates


The Pirates had lost 13 of 15 heading into Friday against the Dodgers. They got three much needed wins over the Dodgers at PNC Park over the weekend. The Pirates even jumped on Clayton Kershaw for 4 runs early last night. The Pirates will go for a four game sweep of the Dodgers today.

The Pirates have certainly dug themselves a hole with their recent play, but they are still only 4.0 games out of the second wild card spot. They will however need a healthy Gregory Polanco. He was out of the Pirates lineup all weekend because of a leg injury.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Jeff Locke, 2 GS, 13.2 IP, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.66 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 0.5 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Jameson Taillon: 2 GS, 8.0 IP, 16 H, 9.00 ERA, 7.01 FIP, -0.2 fWAR

This Week

  • Mon (12:35) vs Dodgers
  • Tues (10:10), Wed (10:10) at Mariners
  • Fri (10:05), Sat (10:05), Sun (4:05) at Athletics

St. Louis Cardinals


The Cardinals had a huge sweep of the Cubs to begin the week. They however lost 2 of 3 to the Mariners over the weekend. Outside of the sweep of the Cubs, the Cardinals have failed to capitalize on the Cubs recent struggles.

The Cardinals sit a 1.0 game out of the second wild-card spot, in a crowded race. The Cardinals are trying just about anything right now. They’ve sent Randal Grichuk and Jeremy Hazelbaker down to AAA, and have called up Kolten Wong. They are trying Wong in CF as a platoon with Tommy Pham.

Matt Adams was out the Cardinals lineup over the entire weekend series against the Mariners because of lower back tightness.

Who’s Hot (last 7 days): Aledmys Diaz: .364/.500/.636, 2 HR, 210 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
Who’s Cold (last 7 days): Yadier Molina: .105/.150/.105, 2 for 19, -34 wRC+, -0.3 fWAR

This Week:

  • Mon (8:15), Tues (8:15) at Royals
  • Wed (8:15), Thurs (7:15) vs Royals
  • Fri (8:15), Sat (2:15), Sun (2:15) vs Brewers

 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: Jeff Locke, Pirates: 13.2 IP, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.66 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 0.5 fWAR

Batter: Willson Conteras, Cubs: .400/.500/900, 3 HR, 266 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR


All statistics only include games played through 6/25/16, and used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats and Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index).

7 Responses

  1. Patrick Jeter

    I wonder what its like to have prospect after prospect be called up and perform well. Maybe one day we feel what that is like!

    • Patrick Jeter

      Today’s fun fact….

      Reds have the only starter, min 20 IP, with a FIP over 9.00 (Moscot) and the only reliever, min 10 IP, with a FIP over 9.00 (Hoover).

    • ohiojimw

      With the Reds it is hard to decide if the issue is with the prospects or that the Reds won’t put them on the field and let them play.

      However, where in the world is Yorman Rodriguez? Per Fangraphs’ game logs, he hasn’t played in a regular season game at any classification level since July of 2015. It appears that his injuries have not been considered “serious” or “major”; yet, he can’t get and stay healthy enough to be on the field.

      • Patrick Jeter

        At this point, seems like there have to be injury shenanigans going on to avoid the ultimate decision of putting him on the roster or waiving him.

      • ohiojimw

        Yep, and the player isn’t going to gripe because he is collecting MLB service time, salary and fringes all the while

      • ohiojimw

        After I originally responded, I was curious myself about the fringes part. I found some interesting stuff.

        Just 43 days of MLB service time gets a guy into the pension plan at the $34K per year level. As far as I could find, they could start collecting at age 45 at this amount; of course more service time and delayed drawing would build the amount.

        Perhaps even bigger for guys who aren’t around long, one day, yes, a single day on an active MLB roster earns healthcare coverage for life for the player, spouse, and dependents. Alternately, 60 days of MLB service time with no days on an active roster qualifies a guy for the same healthcare for life coverage.

        So a couple, of September call ups earns a guy a minimum lifetime pension of $34K annually plus healthcare for life. Nice work if you can get it…..

  2. redsfan06

    RLN has written some nice detailed articles on the Cubs, Cards and Pirates recipes they are using to attain success. It would be interesting to hear how the Giants have managed to do so well the last few years. It seems they have actually had the most success.