Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Baseball Life For Me
The Pittsburgh Pirates' last Postseason trip came in 2014 where they took a brutal beating against the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card. Since then, they have missed the Postseason for the past two years. But 2017 was going to be different. At the All-Star Break, the Pirates were 5 games below .500. Since then, they have won 7 of their last 8 games and having a 49-48 record; just 2 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central.
This win streak would not have happened if it weren't for the talents of Gregory Polanco, Josh Harrison, and Andrew McCutchen. In 5 of their last 6, the Pirates have scored four runs or more. Facing NL Central rival the first place Brewers was not going to be an easy order to take, but they took it and swept the Brew Crew in the 4 game series. All 4 games were decided by 2 runs or less including a walk off win on July 19. The Buccos now have another challenge to face as they head to Denver for a 3 game series against the Rockies. In game 1, the Rockies got smashed with a 13-5 beating putting the Pirates' record just above .500. Now that the NL Central has a third team in the race, it's about time that both the Brewers and Cubs panic as all three are one game within each other.
The Brewers 5 game losing streak continued Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Phillies and a season worst 6 game losing streak. The Cubs faced the same fate as their 6 game win streak got snapped by the Cardinals after blowing a 3-2 lead with a devastating 9 run eighth inning and an 11-4 loss. With this being said, this NL Central race is heating up between these three. For the Pirates, they having a pretty easy schedule heading into August with matchups against the fourth and fifth place Padres and Giants in the NL West, as well as a divisional series against the last place Reds and last place Blue Jays in the AL East.
For the Cubs, despite the all Chicago series against the White Sox, they have a tough road starting off with the first place Brewers in Milwaukee to end July. Did I also mention that they have the second place D-Backs coming to town and a three game road trip to Arizona. Oh yeah right (laugh) they also have to face Mr. Bryce Harper when the first place Nationals come to Chicago on the first weekend in August; my, how the tables have turned.
And let's not forget the first place Brewers who are starting to suck like really bad. For their next series to end July and start August, they must also face the Nationals in Washington this Tuesday through Thursday. Then its an NL Central in Milwaukee showdown to prove who really is the face of the NL Central, Cubs or Brewers? Along with another home series against St Louis, the Brew Crew must also play interleague when they go to Tampa the first weekend in August plus a trip to Minnesota to play the second place Twins.
There is one thing each club must do in order to win the respective division:
MIL: (Score insurance runs and close the friggin games out!)
CHC: (Start up another win streak and continue the good pitching and hitting)
PIT: (Rely on McCutchen, Polanco, and Harrison, keep winning and you'll catch up to them.)
This NL Central race is the tightest it has been all season, but the team with the most determination, discipline, and teamwork will beat out the other two for the NL Central crown.
NL Central Standings as of 7/22/17
The top three teams in bold are the ones to watch out for in September and October. Will it be the Pirates and the Jolly Roger? Will it be the Northside Chicago Cubs that will win back to back Central titles? Or can the Brewers change their ways and become the club that they were earlier this season and win it?
162 games, three teams, one division title.