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NL Central Notes: Cubs x-factor, Pirates gaining ground

The latest news from around the National League Central.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

When looking at the Cubs roster, a bunch of names pop as to who could be an x-factor for the team in the second half. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are just two names that could be a topic of conversation.

One name that is emerging for this team in the second half is former closer Joe Nathan. At age 41, Nathan could help the Cubs rebuild their bullpen and give them another solid option out there.

More from around the National League Central:

  • Since the end of June, the Pirates have made up some ground on the division leader, the Cubs. How many games? Seven and a half.
  • The Reds are using this All-Star break to reorder their rotation, mainly to get lefty Brandon Finnegan to the back of the rotation. The idea behind the move is to limit his innings.
  • Trading Aaron Hill is just another move that is following a pattern, as the Brewers continue to rebuild.
  • The Cardinals have entered this All-Star break very confused, confused at their lackluster play through 88 games.

Standings ‘as of writing’:

Cubs 53-35 — GB

St. Louis 46-42 7.0 GB

Pittsburgh 46-43 7.5 GB

Milwaukee 38-49 14.5 GB

Cincinnati 32-57 21.5 GB