View From the Center: N.L. Central Breakdown
Welcome to "View From the Center," where our resident pseudo-expert slash Cincinnati Reds fan Jeff Gentil takes a regular rundown of the topics of interest within baseball's divisional landscape. Last week, awards. This week, we break down the division races.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals are the hottest team in the game right now. With a seven-game win streak the team has taken first place back from the Reds and their offense, somewhat dormant in the first half, has exploded with the power and wallop most people expected. Combine that with perhaps the best top of the rotation pitchers (Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia) in the league and the Cards are going to be extremely difficult to overtake.
Chicago Cubs: Tuesday's announcement of Lou Piniella's retirement should not come as a big surprise. Sweet Lou has long said the Cubs job would be his last and with his contract expiring at the end of the 2010, in addition to the Cubs' miserable season, it's a good time for Lou to get out. The Cubs are under new ownership who may jettison a lot of heavy salaries and why would Piniella stick around for another rebuilding team?
Cincinnati Reds: Despite the absence of Scott Rolen (flu, hamstring), the Reds continue to get production from Miguel Cairo. If Rolen needs a D.L. stint, however, it could hurt the team's chances of overtaking the Cardinals but the team is quietly optimistic that Rolen will be back soon. Aside from that, the pitching staff as a whole is coming together at the right time with quality starts from rookie Travis Wood and the huge return of Edinson Volquez. Now the team is in talks with Jason Isringhausen for a potential return to the game that would no doubt help the bullpen.Continued on the next page