Here’s How It Looks: NL Central


OK. Time to get over yesterday’s loss, right? I thought I would provide Reds fans some good things to read today.

We have a little more than a week and a half of the baseball season in the books. Things within the NL Central look all right. Others, not so much. Well, I should say a little peculiar. A little info for your Monday viewing pleasure. Here’s a quick team-by-team look after the season’s first 11 days.

First Place: Cincinnati Reds
Record: 6-3 (5-1 home, 1-2 road, 5-1 in division)
MVP (to date): Joey Votto – leads the team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage (and, therefore, OPS). Tied for team lead in doubles, HR and runs. Yes, he’s an offensive machine.
Cy: Bronson Arroyo – If he has mono, I think it should become an epidemic among the starting staff. Look at these numbers: 2-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 11 SO, 0 BB.
Notes: Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey both have one last test to pass before going on rehab assignments in Louisville.

Second Place: Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 5-5 (1-3 home, 4-2 road, 4-2 in division)
MVP: Jose Tabata – He leads the Bucs in every major offensive category but one (RBI).
Cy: Kevin Correia – People rolled their eyes when manager Clint Hurdle made Correia the Opneing Day starter. He has not made Hurdle regret that move with the numbers: 2-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.071 WHIP.
Notes: The one area I thought the Pirates would be okay was the offense. They currently sit 12th in BA (.238), 11th in OBP (.310) and 11th in SLG (.358). The area where I thought they would struggle was pitching. They are 5th in ERA (3.29). The bugaboo was been walks where they ranks last (46).

Second Place: Milwaukee Brewers
Record: 5-5 (5-2 home, 0-3 road, 2-4 in division)
MVP: Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun – Couldn’t pick just one as both deserve such mention. Between these two, they lead the Brewers in all but one offensive category (BA – Nyjer Morgan).
Cy: Chris Narveson – has yet to allow a run this season. Sure, he’s only pitched nine innings. Your point?
Notes: Zack Greinke gets closer and closer to returning. If we see the ’09 version, the rest of the division could be in for a fight. The offense does lead the NL in HR (12), but they are only 6th in runs (38). And the Brewers will whiff on occasion ranking 3rd (76).

Fourth Place: Chicago Cubs
Record: 4-5 (3-3 home, 1-2 road, 2-4 in division)
MVP: Aramis Ramirez – Maybe he will have a great season being in his contract year and all. He doesn’t lead the team in HR or BA. The only stat that he leads the team in is RBI. He’s just showing up and playing. I could have gone with Marlon Byrd or Starlin Castro. Aramis has 5 BB and 2 SO.He’s starting to see the ball and that makes him doubly dangerous.
Cy: Andrew Cashner – Weird choice to some, but Cashner make an impressive 2011 debut in going 5+ innings and allowing only 2 hits. Granted, one of those was a HR, and Cashner did not get a decision. Yes, I know he’s on the DL.
Notes: Cashner, as well as Randy Wells, are on teh DL. That should tell you a bit about how the Cubs staff has struggled thus far.

Fifth Place: St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 3-6 (2-4 home, 1-2 road, 1-2 in division)
MVP: Colby Rasmus – He’s the only starter hitting over .300. Odd seeing Albert Pujols at .143, lowest among starters.
Cy: Jaime Garcia – No question here. He spun a magnificent complete game shutout in his 2011 debut. He followed that with a mundane 6 inning, 4 hit, 1 run effort.
Notes: Matt Holliday is already back after having an appendectomy. The pitching has held up. Same can’t be said for the bats. Last in runs scored, 14th in BA, last in slugging.

Sixth Place: Houston Astros
Record: 2-7 (1-2 home, 1-5 road, 1-2 in division)
MVP: Hunter Pence – I could have gone with the guy leading the team in hitting (Angel Sanchez), but Pence hasn’t already committed three errors. That made this practically a no-brainer of a pick since he’s second in BA (.324), first in SLG (.486) and OPS (.845).
Cy: Brett Myers – Hands down. He has no decisions to show for two excellent outings. The bullpen cost him one, he yielded a HR to cost him the other. The only stat to worry about with Myers: SO/BB which is currently at 4/6. That is a cause for some concern.
Notes: The Astros rank last in ERA (5.78). I thought this would be a strength for the ‘Stros. The season is young, but the Astros may be too young.