Welcome back to the Post Up! We have finally entered the realm of baseball and so why not continue that trend? In this article we will be looking at who we think has the ability to win the NL Central. This article will not only focus around that but who we think is not a true contender for the post-season. So without anymore waiting, let’s go!
This will be short and sweet obviously, no, the Cubs will not be in the post-season. They are already dead last in the NL Central and are 11 games off the pace. The season for the Cubs will be like this the rest of the year, but that is okay with Cubs fans. Right now, while the team still may be losing, they have their core of Rizzo, Castro, Wood, and Castillo playing well. As long as they keep that up the rest of the season, nothing else matters.
This season will be another season of losing for the Cubs, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for their rebuilding so long as everything stays status quo.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a very interesting place right now. They are coming off one of the best seasons that they have had in a very long time, and yet they are experiencing somewhat of a victory hangover. They have not started the season well and are 5 games under .500 and 7.5 games off the pace. They are a very good, and well-rounded team and their record should not be a marker of what this team can do.
I do not expect the Pirates to be in this hangover all year, the question is when will they shake it off? Right now, my personal prediction is that they will not be able to shake it off and start playing to their potential until early to mid June. Unfortunately, for them, they will have done enough to where the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals are too far ahead to make a last-ditch effort at the playoffs, and I believe the Pirates will miss out and finish where they are currently which is 4th place, but they will still be above .500.
The issues with the Pirates this year really starts and ends with their pitching. Sure, you can argue that McCutchen got off to a slow start, and that Mercer and Ishikawa are still not to the potential the Pirates expected when giving those two the nod at the end of spring, but the Pirates were never a team to lay it on you hard. They were a team that survived around timely hitting and their pitchers pitching well, and late into games. The timely hitting is still there .252 which is good for top half of the league.
What the real issue is that their pitching which sits at a 3.85 and 18th overall in all of baseball. This is compared to a pitching staff that had the 3rd best staff in all of baseball last year. The Pirates already have their main closer in Jason Grilli on the DL for who knows how long. Their starters are off to a very difficult start with only Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole with a sub 4 ERA.
It is not about if with the Pirates, but when. They will turn around and be the team that we saw last year. However, with the question of when also comes the question of will it be too late? In my humble opinion, it will be too late and therefore the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be making the post-season this year.
The Cincinnati Reds are the team they have been all year and have been in past years. They are a very solid team all around and have the potential to make the post-season, but will they? The answer to that is yes. Right now the Reds are 2 games under .500 and 6 games off the pace. However, the Reds will turn it around, much like the Pirates and will be above .500 and be in the race for the post-season at the end of the year. Much like the Pirates, the Reds do not rely on hitting, but pitching, and boy oh boy do they have that.
The Reds pitching staff is at a 3.47 ERA and they have two of their starters under a 3 ERA. Their hitting has struggled so far but expect that to turn around very soon as well. Once their hitting turns around, and they have that to go along with their pitching, the Reds will be sitting very pretty. It is with all of this that the Reds will be making the post-season and will be the wildcard team to make it. They will not win the division because that honor will be going to the next team I will be talking about.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are the team to beat in my opinion for this division. Right now the Cardinals are sitting at .500 and 5 games back of the Brewers. They have been hitting pretty poorly compared to what they were last season. There is no way that they will every match their team batting average for runners in scoring position from last year, but it should still be within the top 5 in baseball at the end of the season.
The Cardinals are also still looking for a 2nd basemen. It seems they have found their SS for the next few years in Jhonny Peralta but even he is struggling at the plate so far. Right now the Cardinals using Mark Ellis at 2nd because Wong struggled so much at the beginning of the season that he was demoted. Ellis is not winning the job for himself and he will probably lose it to Wong again later in the season.
Very similar to the Reds, the Cardinals have had superb pitching which is why they are still winning games. Obviously, Molina, Carpenter, Adams and Holliday are hitting relatively well, but the pitching is where it is at. Their team ERA is just above 3 and they have had their starters in Wainwright and Wacha look like Cy Young contenders. Miller has played very well after a rocky start, and none of their starters are above a 4 ERA.
The Cardinals realize that this is a marathon, and not a sprint. They will get their hitting turned around and will go on a tear once June/July rolls around and that is why we will see the Cardinals again in the post-season and this is also why they will win the division.
Right now the Brewers are the team to beat. They are 10 games above .500 and are in sole possession of 1st in the NL Central. Right now this team is playing out of their minds. They are not hitting extremely well, but when they have to get into a slug-fest, they seem to be fine with that and finding a way to come out on top.
I do not mean to sound like a broken record, or to use the same facts over and over, but the facts are facts. Just like the Cardinals and Reds, the Brewers pitching has been superb. They have nearly the same ERA as the Cardinals with a 3.21 team ERA. Matt Garza is not pitching very well, but when you have 3 of your 5 starts with a sub 3 ERA, you are going to be sitting pretty.
However, with all of the success that the Brewers are having, I do not see them in the post-season. Let me make this clear, I do not think that they will fall off massively and are a fluke., far from it. I just think that they do not have enough to beat teams like the Cardinals and the Reds. The Brewers will not keep this pace up all year and sooner or later they will not be winning all the time. They will hit some bumps and that will be where we can see the Cardinals and Reds jump ahead. The Brewers will be in it until the last day with the entire division, expect the Cubs. But ultimately, they will not beat out the Reds and Cardinals and will finish in 3rd place and well above .500.
There you have it, our predictions for the NL Central for the rest of the year. Do you agree, do you not? Let us know by commenting and giving us feedback on everything. We also ask that you Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter and Subscribe on Reddit.
All stats and information courtesy of espn.com and yahoo.com