Our weekly look at the MLB standings shows the Chicago Cubs moved into a tie for first place in the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The race is far from over, but the hard part is done. The Chicago Cubs fell to a season worst 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central standings at the All-Star break. However, Chicago quickly fought back to win eight of the first nine games in the second half, exploiting the Brewers’ struggles to pull even atop the division.
Sunday night, Jose Quintana – acquired from the White Sox just before the second half began – allowed three runs in six innings against the rival Cardinals to pick up his second win in a Cubs uniform. Quintana now has a 2.08 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched in two starts with his new club. The lefty has allowed just eight hits and two walks since moving over to the National League.
The addition of Quintana certainly provided a boost, but we always expected the Cubs to rise to the top of the division. After all, we’re talking about the defending World Series champions, and the team the Cubs have been chasing all season had been pegged to win roughly 70 games by Las Vegas odds makers in the spring.
The Brewers have greatly overachieved our expectations. Milwaukee has spent 67 days in first place this season, including every day since May 26. But after losing seven of eight games, including a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies (owners of the worst record in baseball) Sunday, the Brewers’ place atop the division is on shaky ground.
We’re just one week from the MLB trade deadline, and as teams make final decisions on whether they will be buyers or sellers, the Brewers have one of the toughest slates ahead of them. After finishing a 10-game road trip with a trip to Washington, Milwaukee has a three-game weekend set at home against the Cubs, with first place sure to be on the line.
American League East
Boston Red Sox (55-45, .550, – GB)
Last Week: 2-2 vs. Blue Jays, 1-2 at Angels
- Home Record: 29-18
- Road Record: 26-27
- Runs Scored: 470
- Runs Allowed: 406
- Run Differential: +64
- Streak: Lost 2
- Last 10: 4-6
Next Week: July 24-26 at Mariners, July 28-30 vs. Royals
New York Yankees (51-46, .526, 2.5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 at Twins, 3-1 at Mariners
- Home Record: 26-17
- Road Record: 25-29
- Runs Scored: 517
- Runs Allowed: 413
- Run Differential: +104
- Streak: Won 1
- Last 10: 6-4
Next Week: July 25-26 vs. Reds, July 27-30 vs. Rays
Tampa Bay Rays (51-48, .515, 3.5 GB)
Last Week: 2-1 at Athletics, 0-3 vs. Rangers
- Home Record: 27-22
- Road Record: 24-26
- Runs Scored: 459
- Runs Allowed: 446
- Run Differential: +13
- Streak: Lost 4
- Last 10: 5-5
Next Week: July 24-26 vs. Orioles, July 27-30 at Yankees
Baltimore Orioles (47-51, .480, 7 GB)
Last Week: 4-0 vs. Rangers, 1-2 vs. Astros
- Home Record: 30-21
- Road Record: 17-30
- Runs Scored: 457
- Runs Allowed: 531
- Run Differential: -74
- Streak: Won 1
- Last 10: 5-5
Next Week: July 24-26 at Rays, July 28-30 at Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays (44-54, .449, 10 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 at Tigers
- Home Record: 22-24
- Road Record: 22-30
- Runs Scored: 401
- Runs Allowed: 491
- Run Differential: -90
- Streak: Lost 3
- Last 10: 3-7
Next Week: July 24-27 vs. Athletics, July 28-30 vs. Angels
The Red Sox maintained a slight lead in the AL East after a so-so performance last week. Boston lost four of seven, including back-to-back losses to the Angels in Anaheim to finish the three-game weekend series. Chris Sale was terrific as usual, Drew Pomeranz looked great in his lone start during the week, and Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts led the offense.
But with one week left before the trade deadline, the biggest news of the week involved the Red Sox calling up top prospect Rafael Devers to try and answer the club’s third base issues. Devers has played just nine games above Double-A, so it’s a risky move to rely on such an untested option in a hotly contested division race, but Boston will get a close look at Devers before making a move for a major league veteran.