NL Central - Hitting the Skids
The once scorching Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have lost five straight games and four straight games, respectively. The Cubs sit nine games in the clear of a playoff spot, but the Brewers may be in a more tenuous position.
Four games may seem like it's plenty but as David Pinto points out, the Brewers have a tough row to hoe coming up.
Over the next six games, the Brewers play weak opponents. They have three more against the Padres and three against the Reds, all at home. Milwaukee needs to clean up over these six as they then begin a ten game road trip with four at Philadelphia and three at Chicago.
Outside of this weekend's critical series at Shea and their four-game home set with the Brew Crew, Philadelphia plays exclusively the fading Braves, the sinking Marlins and the Nationals. St. Louis seems like they do not have it in them to mount a charge, but they too have it pretty easy heading into the home stretch. They have the Cubbies six times, but Chicago may be in "get healthy" mode as they prepare for the post-season.
Finally, the Houston Astros are on fire. Winners of eight straight, they too have an easy slate the rest of the season. While the Cubs are probably in, the Brew Crew will have a fight on its hands. With the NL West and NL East races looking awfully competitive too, we sure seem to be in for a great finish in the Senior Circuit.
**Update**: Courtesy of Rob Neyer, Tom Hadricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a beat on why the Brewers might be in trouble.