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NL Central week in review: Cincinnati Reds find new way to lose

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The National League Central leaders were the week's disappointments; St. Louis and Milwaukee were the only teams to not win more than they lost, with both clubs dropping games to teams who rest in division cellars. 

No one could move up or fall down the division, so the status quo was kept, but there were some notable occurrences.

Let's look back at the past week in the NL Central. 

Milwaukee Brewers

22-13 overall, 3-3 this week, --GB

The Brewers were the butt end of the Cincinnati Reds' renaissance, missing an opportunity to create separation as division leaders. Losing a series to the Reds before winning in Miami put them back to where they started the week in terms of winning percentage, but the team would hardly call a successful week. 

Christian Yelich became the sixth player to hit for the cycle three times in his career, and the first to accomplish the feat three times against the same team. Having him back as a contributing member of the lineup might be the difference for the Brew Crew. 

St Louis Cardinals 

19-15 overall, 3-3 this week, 2.5GB

There are worse things than breaking even on a homestand, but frustration with dropping two to the lowly Baltimore Orioles is warranted. Winning the series against the Giants by closing out with a 13-2 national TV game takes away some sting. 

Hitters seem to be finding their grooves, some faster than others, while the Brewers have been unable to build on their division lead. In short, the Cardinals remain in a good spot. 

Pittsburgh Pirates 

15-19 overall, 4-3 this week, 6.5GB

The Pirates continue to overachieve by being better than terrible. They stole a win on Sunday without collecting a single hit against the Reds (more on that later). 

Young third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes continues to stand out with a .312 batting average and a weighted runs created plus of 136 (the MLB average is 100), despite hitting for virtually no power yet. 

Veteran Jose Quintana has bounced back with a team-low 2.70 earned run average on the year, and he threw seven shutout innings in the Pirates' Sunday win. 

Chicago Cubs 

13-20 overall, 4-2 this week, 8.5GB

The Cubs rebounded from a five-game losing streak by going on the road and taking two series from the Padres and the Diamondbacks, getting wins over Zac Gallen, Mackenzie Gore, and Humberto Castellanos. 

Chicago's pitching had a strong week, with the offense doing just enough to win games, winning by one or two runs in three of their four wins. 

Close wins are an unstable foundation, but standout performances from Justin Steele, Patrick Wisdom and, especially, Kyle Hendricks, have to have Cub fans feeling better than this time last week. 

Cincinnati Reds 

9-26 overall, 4-3 this week, 13GB

To cap off their most winning week of the season, where they took down the division leader twice and showed signs of life despite their sluggish start, the Reds closed their week on a historically brutal note. 

The Reds became the sixth team since 1901 to allow zero hits and still lose a game. While not officially a no-hitter due to MLB standards needing nine innings pitched to qualify for the accomplishment, rookie star Hunter Greene and the bullpen combined to allow zero hits on the road while allowing one run to score on a fielder's choice.

It's brutal out here.


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