Only one National League division had more than two teams finish the 2021 Major League Baseball season with a winning percentage over .500. That division was the NL Central. The Milwaukee Brewers (95-67) finished in first with a .586 winning percentage. The St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) finished in second (.556), while the Cincinnati Reds made it under the wire with a .512 winning percentage and a record of 83-79.
The Cardinals and Brewers are above .500 in 2022, but the Reds are currently in the NL Central basement. It seems as if St. Louis and Milwaukee will be duking it out for the top spot for the rest of the season. As for the Pittsburgh Pirates (25-37), Chicago Cubs (23-39) and the Reds (23-40), they might be in a three-way fight to stay out of last place. The Cubs were 71-91 in 2021, while Pittsburgh finished 61-101.
2022 National League Central picks
|To Win 2022 National League Central|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+115||+115||+120||+115|
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals did not make it past the NL Wild Card game last season. The club lost that one-game playoff to the LA Dodgers. It was an unfortunate end of the season for a team who put together a spectacular 21-4 run from September 8 through the last game of the 2021 MLB season. While the team has not had a run of 17 straight wins, like it did during that stretch last season, 2022 has been fairly good to the Cards, who are 1.5 games up on the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central right now.
The Cardinals’ offense is being led by Paul Goldschmidt, who is first in the NL in batting average at .347, second in RBIs with 56, first in hits with 82 and fourth in home runs with 16.
The Cardinals are +55 in run differential.
The Milwaukee Brewers fell 3-1 to the eventual 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2021 MLB postseason. Milwaukee headed into the playoffs on a downswing. The team’s record was 14-15 from September 1 through the final game of the regular season. Milwaukee was 0-4 in the last four regular season games in 2021.
The Brewers struggled in the early days of the 2022 season as well, going 1-3 in their first four games, but the team soon found its footing and did fairly well. At least until June came around. Milwaukee is 3-10 since the start of the month.
Despite the team’s struggles, the Brewers still have a positive run differential and overall winning record. They also have solid pitching from Corbin Burnes, who is fifth in NL with an ERA at 2.52 and first in the NL with 100 strikeouts.
The Cardinals and Brewers have a four-game series staring on Monday, June 20. If that series goes anything like the first two series between these two teams, we aren’t going to learn too much. These teams are 4-4 against each other this year with St. Louis holding a 33-30 lead in runs scored. The last game between the two clubs was on May 29 when the Brewers won an 8-0 shutout. The Cardinals are the better team right now and I expect them to look to make moves to improve even more at the trade deadline.
Pick: St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2022 National League Central Division.
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