Cardinals, Reds and Pirates make NL Central the best in baseball

The National League Central has two of major league baseball’s best teams in the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds and one of the best up and coming teams in the Pittsburgh Pirates. The three teams have made the division one of the most competitive in the league.

The Cardinals currently have the best record in baseball at 40-21 after defeating the Reds 9-2 in the opening game of a three game series on Friday night. St. Louis has won two straight and 6 of their past 10 overall. The win on Friday gave the Cardinals a 4 game lead over both the Reds and the Pirates.

Cincinnati has lost three straight and 6 of their past 10 overall, while Pittsburgh is 5-5 in their last ten games.

Cincinnati entered the three game series with an overall record of 36-24, but with the loss on Friday dropped to 36-25. Nevertheless, the Reds could win two straight over the weekend and end the series only two games behind the Cards.

The Reds will send Mat Latos against St. Louis on Saturday. Latos is 5-0 on the season with an ERA of 2.90. Over his past three starts, Latos is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.84 in 19 innings with 18 strikeouts.

On Sunday the Reds will send Bronson Arroyo to the mound in the final game of the series. Arroyo is 6-5 this season with an ERA of 3.88. Over his past three starts, the right hander is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.66.

Cincinnati’s Joey Votto is leading the Majors in walks, is second for on-base percentage and third with 47 runs scored. The first baseman has a batting average of .323 and leads Cincinnati with 73 hits.

Brandon Phillips had been sidelined three games with a sore forearm but returned to action in Friday’s loss to the Cardinals. He has one hit in four at bats Friday night.

The Reds have been able to remain close to St. Louis but the Cardinals are showing signs of exploding on offense. On Thursday, St. Louis scored 12 runs thanks to 5 home runs in a 12-8 victory over Arizona. In Friday’s opener, the Cardinals scored 9 runs on 16 hits and Adam Wainwright recorded his 9th win of the season. In the game, the Cardinals had six players with two hits on the night.

With the pitching staff the Cardinals possess, St. Louis has a chance to open their lead up over both the Red and Pirates if their bats come alive.

Even though the season is less than half over, the three game series this weekend between division rivals could be the stepping stone the Cardinals need to open up a big lead against both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

The line on this weekend’s series between division rivals St. Louis and Cincinnati, as well as all your other betting needs can be found by clicking here.

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