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Baseball’s tightest race

With the Brewers, Cardinals and Reds all losing seven of their last 10 games, the six NL Central teams are currently separated by just four games.

Milwaukee - 34-29
St. Louis - 34-30
Chicago - 30-30
Cincinnati - 31-30
Pittsburgh - 30-33
Houston - 29-32

It’s not just the records that are similar either. The NL Central is the only division without a team that’s scored at least 300 runs. It’s also the only division without a team that’s allowed at least 290 runs. The six NL Central teams rank between 15th and 28th in the majors in runs scored and between third and 13th in the majors in runs allowed. Four of the six teams have run differentials within 10 runs.

Milwaukee - 288 RS, 272 RA
St. Louis - 279 RS, 269 RA
Chicago - 253 RS, 245 RA
Pittsburgh - 278 RS, 270 RA
Cincinnati - 262 RS, 266 RA
Houston - 250 RS, 283 RA

As winnable as the division would seem to be, one wonders if the Pirates will come to regret trading Nate McLouth. The Astros, certainly, have no reason to give up now, even if their run differential suggests that they’re fortunate to be where they are. While Pittsburgh and Houston still look like the weakest teams in the division, all of the clubs have clear flaws and it’s unlikely that any will play .600 ball from here on in. As tight as things are, the Brewers and Cardinals may be better off overpaying for help now rather than waiting another six weeks to see if price tags come down at the deadline.