Central Intelligence: Week of 4/23 – The Cream is Starting to Rise to the Top

Today is the last day of April and the good teams are separating themselves from the bad ones. Nowhere is that more true than in the NL Central, so let’s take a quick look at how it’s gone down over the last week.

Chicago Cubs

  • Went 3-3, bringing their record to 13-10. The Cubs beat the Pirates early in the week, avenging a sweep earlier in the year. The Monday game was a beatdown, with the Cubs winning 14-3.
  • Starting pitching struggles continue to be the early-season story for the Cubs, as the rotation has pitched to a 4.34 ERA, with a 1st-inning ERA of 9.39.
  • Anthony Rizzo has stayed hot this week, hitting three more home runs. He leads the Cubs with six dingers.
  • Wade Davis has yet to give up a run and is a perfect 6-6 in save opportunities; the trade is already paying dividends.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Posted a 4-1 record, bringing them to 12-11 on the season. The Cardinals swept a doubleheader from the Blue Jays that included a walk-off grand slam from Matt Carpenter
  • Former Cub Chris Coghlan performed a Major League-esque leaping flip over Yadi Molina in an exciting Tuesday contest. “I told you I wasn’t gonna slide!”
  • Dexter Fowler seems to be coming around, finally. He had a great week to raise his slash line to .236/.310/.427 and also has home runs in back-to-back games, bringing his total to four on the season.
  • Lance Lynn wants to put in his bid for Comeback Player of the Year in 2017, pitching to just a 2.45 ERA coming off Tommy John Surgery last year.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Posted a 3-3 record, bringing them to 12-13. The Brewers swept the Reds in Milwaukee earlier this week.
  • Eric Thames continues to be the story of the year so far in the Majors. Thames has mashed 11 home runs on the year, eight of which have come against the Reds. Reports came out earlier this week that he has received three drug tests in the past 10 days.
  • The Brewers offense as a whole just straight-up mashes. They currently lead the major leagues with 43 home runs.
  • The pitching is on the other end of the spectrum, as Brew Crew arms have pitched to a 4.49 ERA so far, fourth worst in the National League.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • With a 4-2 record, the Buccos now sit at 11-12 on the young season. They lost a series to the Cubs earlier in the week in Pittsburgh.
  • The Pirates continue to be led by their young pitching staff. Jameson Taillon has stifled opposing lineups with a 2.08 ERA and a .232 average with just two home runs given up.
  • Gift Ngoepe made his Major League Debut on Wednesday, becoming the first player in MLB history born in Africa. He recorded his first hit against Jon Lester that night.
  • The Pirates had an offensive outburst on Friday night, posting 12 runs on 18 hits against the Marlins, including an eight run second inning.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Posted a 1-4 record, dropping the Red Legs to 10-13.
  • Young pitcher Rookie Davis had a rookie performance Wednesday afternoon, giving up 7 ER on 11 hits in 2.2 innings. Davis has pitched to a 11.17 ERA so far this season.
  • The Reds are currently the only team in the majors with three players with seven home runs or more. Adam Duvall has 7, Joey Votto and Scott Schebler have 8 apiece.
  • Former Cub Arismendy Alcantara has had a rough April, posting just a .158/.200/.211 slash line. Alcantara has yet to hit a home run or drive anybody home.
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