The Reds celebrated after clinching the Central last season. Who will it be in 2013? Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

National League Central: Second Half Preview

The National League has been one of the most competitive divisions in 2013 without a doubt. Three out of the four best records in the National League belong to the Central. The division lost the Houston Astros to the American League West and it has made the division a lot better overall. You still have the Cubs and Brewers in the cellar of the division but the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are at the top looking to fight it out until game 162 is over. Now here is how I have the division finishing out and why…

5th Milwaukee Brewers- Coming into the 2013 season I would have never thought that the Brewers would be in the cellar of the National League Central. With Gallardo at the top of the rotation and getting Lohse from Free Agency you would have thought that they would be top three. That is not the case. Ryan Braun has been nagged by injuries, Gallardo is having his worst season since coming into the majors. He might finish the season with a record below .500. Things aren’t looking up in Milwaukee for 2013 but be sure to watch out for them next year. That is of course if Ryan Braun isn’t suspended because of the allegations of steroid use.

4th Chicago Cubs- Will the Cubs ever be good again? That seems like the question every year since 2003 when they blew the championship series against the Marlins. They have some good young talent but things just aren’t going there way. Matt Garza will most likely be traded by the deadline and other than Travis Wood the rotation is awful. Starlin Castro hasn’t turned out how they hoped and now they are stuck at the bottom of the division again. Things won’t change much the rest of the season for the Cubbies as they are pretty much playing for pride now.

 3rd Cincinnati Reds- It sure has been a roller coaster ride for the Reds this season. Losing Johnny Cueto for an extended period of time doesn’t help either. Mat Latos has stepped up and become the ace of the staff and looked great so far. The Reds also lost their starting left fielder from 2012 Ryan Ludwick to an injury on Opening Day. They haven’t been able to replace him and it has really come back to hurt them in the long run. The Reds are five games back of the Cardinals and I just don’t see them having enough juice to make a comeback. I do see them getting a Wild Card but that is a downgrade from last season.

2nd Pittsburgh Pirates- What a season it has been in Pittsburgh. Not only are they going after their first winning season in 20 years they are playing for a division title. I don’t believe they have enough in the tank in order to catch the Cardinals but they will be playing in October. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez have been the stars for the offense with Jeff Locke and Jason Grilli on the pitching end. This is a solid team that could make a run in the playoffs as I see them getting the first Wild Card over Cincinnati.

1st St. Louis Cardinals- The St. Louis Cardinals will be popping open bottles of champagne once game 162 has finished as I believe they will be National League Central Division Champs. The Cardinals with stellar pitching from Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and rookie sensation Shelby Miller have been sensational. Not to mention they have one of the most balanced lineups in all of baseball. They lead the league in hitting with runners with scoring position which all good teams do. I predicted the Cardinals to win the World Series at the beginning of the year and I am sticking to my guns on this one.

As you can see it will be a dog fight to the end, but that is always the best baseball to watch. Make sure to tune in for the 2nd half as it will be a wild ride for sure. Good Luck to the National League Central teams as they try to finish their season on a high note!

 

Tags: Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers Pittsburgh Pirates St Louis Cardinals

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