NL Central Update: 5/5-5/11

Through nearly a month and a half, one of the biggest surprises in baseball has been the emergence of the Milwaukee Brewers atop the National League Central. Here’s a look at their performance over the past week, along with the rest of the division.

1. Milwaukee  Brewers (24-14, 3-3 this week)

The Brewers turned in an average week, a week good enough to hold on to first place in the division by 5 1/2 games entering Sunday night. Milwaukee started the week at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, dropping two of three to the struggling D-Backs. Monday night was an 8-3 win over Arizona, with big days at the plate from Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, and Martin Maldonado. The Brewers dropped two straight after that before hosting New York after their off day. The Yankees got a quality start from Masahiro Tanaka for a win on Friday night, but the Brewers came back on Saturday and Sunday with back-to-back wins, powered by the bats of Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Rickie Weeks.

Player of the week- Carlos Gomez (8-22, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

2. St. Louis Cardinals (18-19, 2-3 this week*)

The defending National League Champs continue to struggle early on this season, though their week started out strong. St. Louis took two of three from the Atlanta Braves during the week, getting constant production from Matt Carpenter over the three-game series at Turner Field. After an off day Thursday, the Cardinals moved on to Pittsburgh, where they dropped games on Friday and Saturday night, 6-4 and 4-3 respectively.

*The Cardinals take on the Pirates on Sunday Night Baseball to complete their week

Player of the Week- Matt Carpenter (8-21, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R)

3. Cincinnati Reds (17-19, 2-3 this week)

The Reds disappointing start to the season went on over the past week, as Cincinnati was swept in a two-game series against the Red Sox during the week. They battled hard Tuesday night until Grady Sizemore won it with a single in the twelfth inning for the Red Sox. Despite a solid start from Mike Leake on Wednesday, the Reds fell again, before heading home to host Colorado. Things looked down again on Friday night after Jonathan Broxton blew a save, though the Reds got back in the win column when Joey Votto blasted a walk-off home run in the next half inning. The Rockies pounded out eleven runs on Saturday night en route to a win over the Reds, but Cincinnati came back on Sunday with a 4-1 win, capitalized by an Aroldis Chapman save in his first appearance of the year, coming back from an injury suffered in Spring Training when he took a line drive off the face.

Player of the Week- Homer Bailey (7 1/3 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K in win over Colorado)

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (16-20, 4-1 this week*)

After making the playoffs last year, the Pirates have gotten off to a shaky start so far this year. This week was a good one for the Bucs, as they took two of three from the San Francisco Giants at home. After dropping Monday’s game in thirteen innings, Pittsburgh won 2-1 on Tuesday behind a great start by Charlie Morton, who allowed one run in eight innings. They then took the series on Wednesday with a 4-3 win, with Gerrit Cole lasting eight innings, allowing just three runs. Pittsburgh took the first two in their weekend series with St. Louis. They go for the sweep on Sunday Night Baseball.

*The Pirates take on the Cardinals on Sunday Night Baseball to complete their week

Player of the Week- Ike Davis (9-17, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R)

5. Chicago Cubs (12-24, 1-6 this week)

The Cubs’ 2014 troubles continued this week, dropping three of four to the White Sox during the week. Overall, the performances were sporadic. Some nights the offensive struggles highlighted the loss, while other nights the pitching wouldn’t show up. The Cubs were then swept by the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, not being able to muster up enough offense to beat the rebounding Braves.

Player of the Week- Jeff Samardzija (15 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 14 K in two no-decisions)


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