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MLB News Update: National League Central Update as of 8/28/13

1. St. Louis Cardinals (78-54) 2. Pittsburgh Pirates (76-55) 3. Cincinnati Reds (74-59) 4. Milwaukee Brewers (58-73)

As of August 28, 2013

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The Cardinals are getting hot at the right time as they head into September with the division lead.

Cincinnati had an opportunity to really make things interesting heading into the final month of the year, but their series with the Cardinals hasn’t gone as planned. On Monday night, the Reds jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in their biggest series of the year, only to squander it by not building on their lead and watching their pitching staff implode late in the game. Leading 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, they watched as the Cardinals rallied for five runs, sparked by Allen Craig’s grand slam. St. Louis followed that up with a 6-1 win on Tuesday night behind another strong outing from Joe Kelly. The right-hander has been lights out and is just another weapon for this club to throw out there every fifth day. With the way the Pirates have come back down to earth, it’s clear that the Cardinals are the class of this division and considering they appeared to have gotten their slump out of the way earlier in the season, they look to be in good shape. Homer Bailey gets the ball for the Reds on Wednesday night, as Cincinnati looks to avoid the sweep against Adam Wainwright. The Reds are now 4.5 games behind St. Louis for the division lead. The Reds head to Colorado to take on the Rockies, while St. Louis travels to Pittsburgh for another huge matchup with the Pirates.

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MLB News Update: National League Central Update as of 8/28/13

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh has now lost three straight games after their 7-6 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night. Aramis Ramirez returned to the Steel City and haunted his old team, torching them for four hits on the evening and four RBI’s in another disappointing start for Jeff Locke. Starling Marte’s injury prompted the front office to go out and make a trade on Tuesday, as they acquired Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the New York Mets in exchange for a 19 year old minor league infielder and a player to be named later. Byrd should add some nice pop to a lineup that is one of the worst in the big leagues in OPS and has really struggled scoring runs of late. Buck gives them a veteran back up to spell Russell Martin. They’ll turn to Charlie Morton, who has been excellent his last four starts out, as they look to snap their losing streak. They’re just 1.5 games behind St. Louis, but they’re heading in the wrong direction and need to head into this weekend’s series with the Red Birds with some momentum. Milwaukee has played better baseball of late and it’s no surprise that has come with the return of Ramirez. They’ll host the Los Angeles Angles over the weekend.

Chicago is now 20 games under .500 on the year and dead last in the National League Central. They did get another great outing from Travis Wood on Tuesday night as the left hander out dueled Clayton Kershaw and the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 3-2. Wood improved his record to 8-10 on the year, but he’s got a very admirable 3.08 ERA on the year. He’s posted a 1.10 WHIP and a .214 batting average against this year. One of the lone bright spots on a Cubs team that doesn’t look like they’re going to be much better any time soon. 

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