The National League Central is the tightest race in all of baseball right now. The Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs are tied for first place in the division with a 46-42 record. If the season ended today, both of those teams would be in the postseason right now.
Milwaukee and Chicago faced each other in a one-game playoff last season before the postseason began because they both had the same record in the National League after Game 162. The Brewers took down the Cubs in that game and due to that, Milwaukee won the division and Chicago was forced to play in the National League Wild Card Game.
The St. Louis Cardinals record so far this season is 43-42. They are 1.5 games back in the NL Central and the NL Wild Card Standings.
The Pittsburgh Pirates record so far this season is 42-44. They are three games back in the NL Central and the NL Wild Card Standings.
The Cincinnati Reds record so far this season is 41-44. They are 3.5 games back in the NL Central and the NL Wild Card Standings.
St. Louis had not made it to the playoffs since 2015, Pittsburgh has not made it to the playoffs since 2015, and Cincinnati has not made it to the playoffs since 2013.
It will be a big weekend for all five of these teams before the All-Star break begins. The Brewers will face the Pirates on the road. The Cardinals will face the San Francisco Giants on the road. The Cubs will be on the road for a two-game set against the Chicago White Sox and the Reds will be on the road for a two-game set against the Cleveland Indians starting on Saturday.
I find it hard to believe that the race will be this tight by the trade deadline at the end of July. I think Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will most likely fall off in the standings. I think St. Louis will stay in contention. I picked the Cardinals to win the NL Central before the season began and it could still very well happen.
With that being said, there is something missing in St. Louis but maybe they will be inspired in the second half and make a run because the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup Title this past season in the NHL.
I think the Milwaukee Brewers are a sure fire bet to reach the postseason for the second consecutive season. I think the Chicago Cubs could potentially miss because their is something that is missing in Chicago. They might need to make a trade at the deadline if they want to get back to the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
I predicted they would miss the playoffs before the season began. This division could get anywhere between one and three teams in the playoffs. If you ask me, I think the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals will be the two teams that will reach the playoffs from the National League Central.
I think the Chicago Cubs have taken a step back, I think the Cincinnati Reds are still a year or two away from being a serious playoff contender again, and I think the Pittsburgh Pirates are a one-man show in Josh Bell and they don’t have the pitching to go anywhere.