With the draft gearing up in earnest later today, let's look at what's going on in the National League Central division this week.
Much as it pains me, the St. Louis Cardinals are still in first place in the Central with a two-game lead over the Brewers. Cincinnati is still struggling this season at 30-30 and is 5 1/2 games behind the RedBirds. Pittsburgh is also hanging around, defying expectations that they'd fall back to earth at 6 1/2 games behind. Chicago is in fifth at 23-34 and is 11 games behind the Cardinals. Houston brings up the divisional caboose at 23-37 and is 12 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
The Cardinals also have the best run differential in the division, averaging 4.9 runs per games and allowing 4.2. Milwaukee is second at 4.3 runs scored and 4.0 runs allowed while Cincy is the only other team in the division with a positive run differential at 4.3 runs scored and 4.2 runs allowed. Houston is in last at 4.0 runs scored and 5.0 runs allowed, though the Cubs have caught them in runs allowed at 5.1.
Looking at Pythagorean record, St. Louis is actually overplaying a bit, a game over where they're expected to be right now. Milwaukee is two games better than expected while Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Houston are actually underplaying their expected records by one game.
Milwaukee has the best home record of any team in the Central at 21-7. St. Louis is close behind, having gone 18-12 at home this season. Houston has the worst home record at 11-17 while Pittsburgh is also tied for the fewest home wins at 11-15. The Cubs have the most home losses at 12-19.
Looking at the entire division's record against teams over .500 suggests it may be hard for anyone from this division to win in the playoffs. Only St. Louis comes close to a winning record against winning teams at 14-14. The rest are a combined 62-91 against teams with winning records. St. Louis has taken advantage of sub-.500 teams the most this season, going 22-11. Milwaukee has also used those losing teams to prop up its record, going 20-10.
It's the Reds who have the best inter-divisional record, though, having gone 22-13 against the other Central teams. St. Louis is 14-9 while Milwaukee is 13-13. Chicago has the worst inter-divisional record at a horrible 7-19 while Houston is only a little better at 12-17.