This season we have seen the ups and downs from the different teams in what is supposed to be a very heavily contested NL Central going down the line.
The 2010 Champion Cincinnati Reds started off on top but have fizzled down over the last few months to only a couple games over .500.
The Cardinals we all know started off very slow, came into their own without Albert being effective. Now they are just kind of locked in an up and down battle for first even though they were on a 7 game skid recently.
The Brewers were 24-8 after sweeping the Cardinals and since they took over first place seems like they don’t want it, dropping 6 of the last 10. Sure they may have played the Red Sox and currently the Rays along the way, but they dropped 3 of 4 to the Cubs at Wrigley, are you kidding me?!
A team now playing .417 ball as a result was what it took to calm probably the hottest team in baseball. What else would you expect from a team landlocked in monumental deals and their biggest offseason acquisition coming in the form of a career .239 batter. Sure he may hit a ton of home runs but that’s pretty much all you’re getting as a result.
Let’s not forget the Pirates! God bless them they just went over .500 this season for the first time in a while and were looking like the sleeper team for a bit. This is like the when the Rays went to the 2008 World Series before their payroll was marred by future cap problems. They have terrific stars in the making and have the potential to do it if they could just get a few more key pieces in play.
The Astros….I am just going to assume they are done. It’s the nearly the end of June and they are still yet to break the .400 mark. It’s early I know, but this team is in the middle of a major organizational transition and the current talks of being moved through the Realignment discussions. The last few seasons have been tough on the ‘Stros and this is looking no different.
So my question is, who really wants this?
For that matter, who really wants the NL besides the Phillies? Barring a few sidesteps with their lineup here and there, their pitching is living up to the hype and they are the only NL club over .600. I said going in Phils-Cards for the NLCS but at times that seems hard to believe. We can beat the Phillies in tough spots and lose to teams that aren’t even going to be legitimate contenders.
We also learned last year never to count out the NL West. Just because we hardly see them from the Central time zone on unless they play our team is no reason to write them off just yet.
I could put up a juvenile poll on the website but I know where readers for this site are going to stand for the most part, and I want an unbiased decision from the majority.
St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati are touted by the ESPN “expert” panel as the big three and I am hard pressed to find any other way to look at them. They all have the pieces in place, but it all comes down to performance.
The Cardinals I have felt have had the best roster for quite some time now and it never seems to resonate to results. Since we won the 2006 World Series we have been to the playoffs ONE time and that was a sweep by Manny and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
The Brewers are starting to surprise me. They have had these young key players in the majors for a little while now and add the former AL Cy Young Zack Greinke to the mix. This is the team that has scared me for some time, long did I think they would be in the mix before the Reds.
It will probably be a tightly contested race, but if one of these teams really just starts to catch fire we could be looking at a dominant program looking to pull away to outright claim the Central.
All three have the potential, who is going to the promised land?
Tags: 2006 World Series 2008 World Series 2009 MLB Playoffs Albert Pujols Boston Red Sox Carlos Pena Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates St Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Rays Wrigley Field Zack Greinke