It's a great day to be a fan of the Cincinnati Reds! Your team has won four straight and is looking to sweep the Kansas City Royals before an off day and a trip to Houston, Texas.
But while the Reds are looking to walk out of western Missouri with a five-game winning streak, things aren't as rosy on the other size of the Show Me State.
The St. Louis Cardinals haven't shown anything lately, except how to lose. Oliver Marmol's ball club has dropped four consecutive games, and the new Cardinals Way seems to be blaming poor performance on their biggest free agent acquisition.
The Reds are climbing the NL Central standings as the Cardinals are unraveling.
Now, it's a long season, but with a little less than 100 games left to play in 2023, the Cincinnati Reds are just 2.5 games back of the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates. That's right, the Buccos lead the NL Central by one game over the Milwaukee Brewers.
A little over one-third of the way through the season, this is not how the experts expected things to unfold. Not only are the Pirates leading the division, but the Reds are a real threat to win the NL Central. Furthermore, the St. Louis Cardinals are in last place.
While the Reds have run off four straight wins and have seven victories in their last nine games, the Cardinals are on a four-game losing streak and have lost eight of their last 10. Only the rebuilding Washington Nationals have a worse win-loss record than the team with two perennial MVP candidates (Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado).
Last 10 games
Every single team in the NL Central has a negative run differential and a losing record against team's with a win-loss record above .500. The days of 18 games against division opponents is over. The balanced schedule this season will not allow the good teams in the division to beat up on the bad ones.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, check out the above stills from St. Louis Post Dispatch photographer Laurie Skrivan. Apparently that cooler said something that one of the Cardinals players didn't like. But hey, maybe this is the new Cardinal Way.
This, of course, followed a benches clearing incident during the St. Louis Cardinals 11-3 loss on Tuesday night to the San Francisco Giants when pitcher Jack Fleherty got into a shouting match with LaMonte Wade Jr. What were the two barking about? Who knows?
At this point in the season, the Cincinnati Reds are flying high and the St. Louis Cardinals are unraveling. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Pirates keep chugging along while the Chicago Cubs have been noncommittal to their ace's request for a contract extension. The times, they are a changing in the NL Central.