It was fun watching the Cardinals struggle against the bottom feeders, but even with the Albert Pujols situation, which could be a potential distraction, does anyone foresee those struggles happening again?
That team is too good. They have four of the best players in the National League, with the aforementioned Pujols, Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright.
Plus, despite those issues in what turned out to be a terribly disappointing season by their standards, they owned the Reds, who will eventually need to figure out a way to beat these guys.
In moving through the rest of the NL Central, the Brewers know that they are probably going to lose Prince Fielder this offseason, so they are giving it one last shot with this core, and even added to it with the addition of Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum.
Plus, Ryan Braun is one of the best young hitters in the game, and had a down year by his standards. There is no reason why he can't bounce back.
A few hours down the road in Chicago, the Cubs added Carlos Pena and Matt Garza to the mix. Combined with Aramis Ramirez entering a contract year, they are perhaps a darkhorse.
Down south in Texas, the Astros probably will struggle, but they have solid starting pitching, with Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez leading the charge.
As for the Pirates, they may become a factor in a few years, if they can get some pitching to go with the young bats they have assembled. For this year, though, they are out of the conversation.