Who’s Going To Win This Airtight NL Central? Four games. That is all that separates all five teams in the National League Central at the moment. The question must be asked, who’s going to win this airtight NL Central?
Why they will: The Brewers are off to one of the most surprising starts in baseball so far this season. Milwaukee currently sits at 33-31, 1.5 games out in front. The Brewers have reached this point with a stunning season so far from Eric Thames, timely hitting, and a bullpen that is performing well above expectations. That will continue, and the Brewers will shock the world by winning the NL Central.
Why they won’t: Every year we have a few teams that jump out to starts like this that aren’t supposed to. This one shouldn’t be any different. That bullpen will come back down to earth and Eric Thames will continue to fade.
Why they will: The Cubs are the defending World Series champions, and have played above average baseball so far this season. That overpowering rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and Kyle Hendricks have pitched, at best, below average to this point in 2017. They will get it going, and when they do, look out.
Why they won’t: The Cubs may have won the World Series a year too early. When a team races to the top ahead of schedule like the Cubs did, they get a little too big for their own britches before they are ready for it. The Cubs ego as a team is through the roof right now, and they are paying for it on the field.
St. Louis Cardinals
Why they will: To get straight to the point, the Cardinals have played like garbage so far in 2017. That offense is stalled in the parking lot of Walmart and can’t get their car started. The bullpen has been bad, and that rotation has been spotty at best. They just lost seven in a row as well. Yet here they sit at 29-32, 2.5 games out of first place. You just wait.
Why they won’t: That Yadier Molina contract extension was the worst decision this organization has made in goodness, nobody knows how long. It’s been a while. That is going to affect them for the rest of the season. Sorry Cardinals fans, their will be no second half surge in 2017.
Why they will: Raise your hand if you thought the Cincinnati Reds would be 29-33, three games out of first place on June 12. Liars. Our man T.J. Bryce had them pegged for less than 60 wins on the season. The clubhouse is real loose right now, and they are letting it all hang out.
Why they won’t: Much like the Brewers, these kinds of starts from these kinds of teams don’t last. Expect a major second half fade from this bunch.
Why they will: The Pirates have not been the Pirates so far in 2017. Their offense has been miserable, even for their standards, that bullpen has been awful, and Gerrit Cole is pitching like a number five starter. They are also playing without Starling Marte, who was suspended 80 games for drugs. He will return soon, and provide a boost to this offense. The Pirates are about to get hot, and will climb to the top of this division at some point during the summer.
Why they won’t: Sometimes, you just have these sorts of seasons, where no matter what you do, you can’t figure out what’s wrong, or how to fix it. The Pirates were about to start moving players anyways, so they might take this as an opportunity to begin trading players now instead of during the offseason.