Published on April 26th, 2012 | by John Friend0
Pirates In Thick of NL Central Race after First Month of 2012 Season
The Cardinals have only played Central Division opponents with the exception of the opener in Florida. The Cubs are still bad, really bad. The Reds have not done much and are still respectable.
The Brewers love to hit and strike people out. Pittsburgh is just waiting for the hitting to come around. The Astros record is going to be much worse than five games under .500 at the all-star break.
That’s the NL Central in a nutshell, continue to read for some more numbers and analysis.
1st Place- St. Louis Cardinals (12-7)
The Cardinals are still riding high and in first place after one month of baseball. Lance Lynn is not Chris Carpenter, but has filled in nicely with four wins and a 1.33 ERA to go along with a team leading 24 strikeouts.
All six of the Card’s series have been against division opponents so far and their next three series are against the Brewers, Pirates and Astros. The Cards have a chance to do some serious NL Central house-cleaning to start the season off.
The Cardinals are still in the top three in runs scored, home runs and team batting average. No update on injured ace Chris Carpenter, but St.Louis’ rotation has not been missing a beat without him.
2nd Place-Cincinnati Reds (9-9)
The Reds haven’t really done anything special to this point in 2012, as the pitching and hitting are both ranked in the middle to bottom of the National League.
The Reds are not producing offensively, ranking in the bottom half of the NL in runs scored, home runs and team batting average. Joey Votto has not homered in his last 16 games and is batting .098 in that span. Former Bucco Ryan Ludwick is leading the team in home runs with three and has 10 rbi as well.
The Reds have a team ERA of 3.59, which is ranked 9th in the NL. Newcomer Matt Latos has not lived up to his billing yet, as he is 1-2 with a 5.64 ERA. Through 11.1 innings pitched so far, Aroldis Chapman has 20 strikeout and has not allowed a run yet this season.
3rd Place-Milwaukee Brewers (9-10)
Outfielder Corey Hart is crushing the ball with six home runs and 13 rbi. Ryan Braun is batting .275 with four home runs and 11 rbi.
Milwaukee is ranked dead last in the NL with a 4.88 team ERA, but lead the league in strikeouts with 162. The Brewers only have one starter with an ERA under 4.00. Opponents are batting .279 off Brewers pitching, which is also ranked last in the NL.
Aramis Ramirez is off to a rough start for the Brew Crew, batting only .191 with one home run. Milwakuee is second in the league with 17 stolen bases.
4th Place-Pittsburgh Pirates (8-10)
The Pirates have managed to stay afloat in the early going despite its anemic offensive numbers. Shortstop Clint Barmes put it best just before the Pirates series against the Colorado Rockies this past week:
We’ve been able to grind through this early part of the season without swinging the bat the way we’re capable of, from one through nine, still be able to scrap away a few wins here and there,” Barmes said. “I’m very excited about when we start pulling it together a bit more often.
Pittsburgh is ranked second in the National League with a 2.58 ERA and A.J. Burnett is now back in a rotation that only looks to get stronger with that addition.
Pedro Alvarez has come to life in the last four games with five hits and now has a total of four home runs on the season.
5th Place-Houston Astros (7-12)
Houston only has 11 home runs on the season, but rank third in the NL with 89 runs scored and second in team batting average at .262. Starter Wandy Rodriguez has been reliable as usual with a 1.42 ERA.
JD Martinez has been a true bright spot for the Astros this season, batting .313 with 18 rbi.
6th Place-Chicago Cubs (6-13)
The Cubs are last in the league with only seven home runs. Chicago’s team ERA is 4.37 and the team have committed 17 errors through 19 games played.
The Cubs are not performing well in any facet of the game and it’s showing in their overall record. Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster have been solid so far, but former Pirate Paul Maholm has a 8.36 ERA through his first three starts.
Image Keith Allison @ flickr