NL Central, May 1 edition

One team over .500, one team at .500, two teams around .500, and two miserable teams – welcome to the NL Central.

The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals (14-8) are off to a great start. They lead the NL in hitting at .280 as David Freese shows that he may be the real deal. He’s hitting .333 with five homers and 20 RBI. Yadier Molina is off to a great start hitting .316 with four homers and Rafael Furcal is hitting .315. To assist the bats is a pitching staff that has the second best ERA in baseball with an ERA of 2.61. Kyle Lohse (4-0, 162 ERA) and Lance Lynn (4-0, 1.33 ERA) have been lights off and they don’t even have the best ERA amongst the starters. Jake Westbrook is 3-1 with 1.30 ERA. Perhaps of concern has to be Adam Wainwright who is 0-3 with a 7.32 ERA coming back from Tommy John. Let’s see what happens when he shakes off the rust.

The Cincinnati Reds (11-11) seem to be picking up steam (7-3 in their last 10) but are 6-6 in the division, 7-7 against righties, 4-4 against lefties, and 10-10 in their last 20. Johnny Cueto is the pitching star at 3-0 and 1.39 ERA and Jay Bruce hitting .296 with seven homers is the star at the plate.

The Brewers are 11-12, 6-6 at home and 6-5 on the road all good considering they have a team ERA of 5.12, the worst in the NL. Zack Greinke has the best ERA amongst the starters at .394. Ryan Braun, with three homers last night, is rounding into form with seven homers and a .294 avg. But Rickie Weeks is hitting .186.

The Pirates (10-12) have the third best ERA in baseball at 2.78. Their starters have a 2.69 ERA with five starters under 3.00. But the bats are atrocious. The team has scored a total of 58 runs, 15 worse than any other team. They have hit a total of 13 homers led by Pedro Alvarez who has five to go along with his .203 avg.

Houston (9-14) and the Cubs (8-15) are as good as their records indicate. The Astros have a few players to watch: second sacker Jose Altuve is hitting .360, shortstop Jed Lowrie is hitting .297, and left fielder  J.D. Martinez has 19 RBI. As long as Chicago’s  Bryan LaHair continues hitting (.390) the first base job stays his.