Heading into the All-Star break earlier this month the Milwaukee Brewers were the biggest surprise in Major League Baseball. They had built a 5.5-game lead in the NL Central division, relegating the Chicago Cubs to a distant second place. However, nothing has gone the Brewers' way since the All-Star break. Not only have they lost six straight, but their core divisional competitors have played strong. What has resulted is a four-way race in the NL Central division standings as teams approach the 100-game mark in the 2017 Major League Baseball season.

Pittsburgh Pirates back in the picture

While the Chicago Cubs are the team closest to the Brewers in the standings, the team that has played the best recently is Pittsburgh. The Pirates have won six straight to close in on the Brewers seemingly on a daily basis. Recently, the Pirates got Starling Marte back from his suspension for using a banned substance. Heading into this week, the Pirates have a lot of momentum and they are just two games back of Milwaukee while the Cubs are just one game back.

The other team in the mix in the NL Central division is St. Louis. The Cardinals have won six of their last ten games and currently sit just 3.5 games back of the lead. With four teams in the mix, the NL Central is the division that promises to produce the tightest pennant race this season.

Given that a second-placed team in the division is not likely to get a Wild Card, the race may not have a consolation prize.

Milwaukee trade rumors start

The Chicago Cubs made a move a short time ago in adding an arm to their starting rotation. Recently, the Milwaukee Brewers have been mentioned in trade rumors. In the case of Milwaukee the rumor pertains to adding a bat to their lineup as opposed to adding an arm to their rotation.

The Detroit Tigers, heading into this weekend, are just 44-51 and they have three teams ahead of them in the AL Central division. Although they have not played poorly recently, they may be in a selling position as overtaking three teams is complicated. Buster Olney, a writer with ESPN, tweeted on Saturday that the Brewers might be interested in Ian Kinsler of the Tigers.

According to the tweet "The Brewers are digging into the possibility of acquiring Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler." The effects of such a move might not be game changing. Kinsler's OPS is currently .721 and, if that holds up, it would be a career low for him at the age of 35. However, he is a player that Milwaukee might be able to pry away from the Tigers for a cheap price. Based on their current form, some kind of message needs to be sent to the team that they need to improve their play.