This series was formerly known as "Carlos Gomez MVP Watch," but that point has become somewhat moot.
Gomez's recent struggles (hitting .160/.295/.260 in his last 16 games) were relatively well-documented even before his recent knee injury, but the fact that he hasn't appeared in a game since Thursday hasn't helped his case either. He's a fringe candidate to win the award at best at this point, and would need a pretty significant charge down the stretch to change that.
If Gomez doesn't re-enter the MVP debate (and Jean Segura doesn't climb into it), then this will be a rare quiet year for the Brewers when the award is announced. The Crew has had at least one player in the top ten in the MVP voting in five of the last six seasons, with 2010 being the lone exception. They've had at least one player receive votes every year since 2006.
So now that we're done talking about the guys who won't be MVP, let's take a look at the weekly performances of the likely contenders:
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Last 7 days: 11-for-29, batting .379/.500/.517 with seven walks
If "teh FEAR" is a key component in your MVP argument, then it's probably worth noting that McCutchen was intentionally walked three times this week, raising his season total to eleven. That's the second-highest total in the NL, trailing only Joey Votto (14).
Despite getting a lot of free passes this week, though, McCutchen still had five multi-hit games. Since June 20 he's a .360/.443/.603 hitter, turning the narrative of his season from "down year" into "NL's best." The only thing that could hurt him is the recent play of the Pirates, who are 2-7 in their last nine games and 8-9 in August. Stock: Still pretty high.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Last 7 days: Eight shutout innings against the Phillies on Saturday, allowing just three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.
The Dodgers aren't the NL's best team overall in 2013, but they're hot enough that it'd be hard to make a case against them being the class of the league right now. That can only help Kershaw's case as he has a season that's closing in on historic.
Kershaw has posted a microscopic 0.95 ERA over his last five starts, allowing just 28 baserunners over 38 innings. His WHIP for the season is down to 0.851, and if his season ended today he'd be just the second NL pitcher since 1915 to post a mark that low. Stock: Climbing fast.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Last 7 days: 9-for-27, batting .333/.455/.667 with three home runs.
We're giving the in-depth treatment to a new third candidate this week, with David Wright potentially finishing the season on the shelf. Goldschmidt is likely to draw some attention from voters who favor more "traditional" numbers, as he leads the NL with 96 RBI and is one of two players with 30 home runs on the season.
Entering the season Goldschmidt's platoon splits had been the primary knock against him, as he mashes lefties but posted a .739 OPS against righthanded pitchers in 2012. He's still crushing lefties this season (1.001 OPS), but is also hitting .292/.395/.521 against righties, and has taken them deep 20 times.
On the next tier: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals; Matt Carpenter, Cardinals; Joey Votto, Reds
Below that: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; Yadier Molina, Cardinals; Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
They'd be candidates if not for...: Matt Harvey, Mets (innings limit); David Wright, Mets (injured); Jose Fernandez, Marlins (innings limit)