What’s Brewing in the NL Central
- Updated: August 7, 2008
After the trades made by the Brewers, I thought they’d be closer than this, but it’s still early. The Cubs, as you can tell below, have a huge runs scored to runs allowed difference which can only speak volumes as to why they’ve got a 5 game lead at the moment. Picking up SP Rich Harden only added to their depth. They are strong offensively with the re-emergence of 1B Lee after a poor 2007 season and CF Edmonds has been hitting better than he did in San Diego, which helps, too. For further insight into the Cubs, please check out Baseball Toaster’s blog Cub Town and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.
Adding SP CC Sabathia was HUGE for the Brewers chances this year. Not only his arm, but his bat out of the # 9 spot in the order is an improvement! JJ Hardy is currently in another slump, but usually comes out of them like gangbusters and if history repeats itself, he should be coming out of it in August and it should last into September if not longer. I see them making this a race for the division. For further insight into the Brewers, please check out Brew Crew Ball and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.
I just don’t see the Cardinals pitching staff holding up enough to get them to the playoffs, even with the magic of Dave Duncan (pitching coach extraordinaire). I’m still surprised that Pujols is still holding up with that arm/shoulder injury he’s been working through all year and they still haven’t gotten anyone to take some of the production burden off of him. Ludwick is a good story, but can he sustain it? It already appears as if he’s starting to come back down to earth. For further insight into the Cardinals, please check out Viva El Birdos and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.
Although the Astros were in the running prior to the All Star game, now that they are 14 games back, I just don’t see them even challenging the Brewers or the Cubs. Neither their pitching nor their hitting is strong enough, in my opinion, to even cut this deficit in half. On the bright side, the offensive explosion this year of 1B/OF Lance Berkman is encouraging. Is it a spike or a look into what’s to be expected from him in the next few years in Houston? For further insight into the Astros, please check out MVN’s site The Astros Dugout and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.
As active as the Pirates were at the trading deadline, I’m actually surprised they are not in sole possession of last place already. There have been some bright spots in SP Paul Maholm and the offensive prowess of C Ryan Doumit and Nate McLouth, but aside from those three, there hasn’t been much to write home about in Pittsburg. Although I just lamented about what the Pirates have seen thus far, there is hope that recently acquired players such as RP Craig Hansen, OF Brandon Moss (both acquired from Boston in the Jason Bay deal) and 3B Andy LaRoche (acquired from LA in the Jason Bay deal), together with these three and a healthy 1B Adam LaRoche and closer Matt Capps with a return to form of SP’s Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelany and INF’s Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson they might be able turn things around. For further insight into the Pirates, please check out MVN’s Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.
The Reds have been a disappointment and with the departure of RF Ken Griffey Jr. (traded to the White Sox at the deadline) they do not stand a chance of coming anywhere close to the top of the division. On top of that, LF Adam Dunn is likely gone after the season, too. Who will remain will be SP’s Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and this year’s rookie sensation (at least through the All Star break) Edinson Volquez and players like 2B Brandon Phillips and SS Jeff Kippinger. For further insight into the Reds, please check out On Baseball and the Reds and maybe they’ll drop us a line in the comments section, too.