"So, Scott...when should we start playing real baseball?"
First of all, this is my first time posting this year. That’s what happens when you find a full-time job (finally), but I am not complaining by ANY means. I’ve missed everyone.
Secondly, the National League Central is a convoluted mess: and I love it. The Reds, Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates are separated by all of four games. Those Cubs of Chicago are 12 games back and Houston (we have a problem) have already last 62 contests and are 19 games in the hole. This indicates the division is highly competitive, but also highly mediocre-ish (when compared to the rest of the senior circuit).
Although, I have to say I rather enjoy the fact that it will be a fight for the rest of the summer to see who comes out on top. Milwaukee just padded their bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets and St. Louis will be St. Louis as they never fall off the face of the earth (It helps to have Pujols back and Holiday hammering the ball). Pittsburgh is playing out of their minds and Cincinnati…ho-hum…has yet to find an identity, despite the fact that they somehow continue to stay within arm’s reach of everyone else.
The division has at least one thing going for them: they can hit the crap out of the ball. Five of the six teams in the Central are among the top six in team batting average in the National League. The not-so great part is that at the same time, five of the six teams are in the bottom seven of worst ERA. If this continues, the division will make those with weak stomachs puke like being on an out of control tilt-a-whirl after chili dog and milkshake lunch fiesta.
As for the rest the fanbase, it will make for wild late summer/early fall ride that may require a lot of drinking and create a number of nervous breakdowns. And we wouldn’t have it any other way, that’s what they call baseball.
Not too many people believe the Reds can go 46-24 the rest of the way to try and match last season’s record, although they may not need to if they can focus on winning division games. That is something Cincinnati has been able to do on a semi-frequent basis up to this point. If they continue to play the way they have the last month, I’m not going to hold my breath.
In the meantime, I’ll try to watch and listen to the Reds without having to cover my face or cringe in disbelief as they try their best to snatch defeat out of the arms of victory every evening. They do need get in gear the first week or two after the break. This time frame will be a telltale sign as to how the rest of their season will play out.