St. Louis Cardinals
The NL Central has been one of the best and tightest divisions in baseball all season long. Three teams are separated by a few games; the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. All three have a chance to win the division.
But the Cardinals are going to be that team.
They have the most talent and have been the best team all season long. Statistically, the Cardinals have the best run differential of the three, which is huge in projecting teams through a whole season.
St. Louis has the best lineup. From top to bottom there is not an easy out. Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holiday and Allen Craig create a nightmare batting order for opposing pitchers.
If the Cardinals have a weakness, it’s their pitching. Adam Wainwright is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but after that it is up in the air.
Lance Lynn has really struggled down the stretch. Shelby Miller has been good but is only a rookie. The second best pitcher for the Cardinals is inexperienced Joe Kelly.
But none of that matters because the team’s lineup is so good. The order will carry the Cardinals to a division title.
Pittsburgh will finish second, but the Cardinals are definitely the team to beat in the NL Central.
The NL Central division is usually a tight race every season and is usually dominated by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds.
But this year, one team is creeping on a first playoff birth since 1992. That is the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates are just fun to watch and unlike the Cardinals, for the first time in a long time, the Pirates have the full package.
They have strong pitching led by starters A.J. Burnett and Fransico Lirano. These two are dominating hitters and leading the way for the pitching staff. The Pirates also landed three big names over the past month to bolster their offense. They added Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, and John Buck to help the team score more runs.
So far, the moves General Manager Neal Huntington has made have clearly been working as the Pirates have clinched a winning season for the first time since 1992 and they have a very possible shot at the Central Division title.
Something the Cardinals don’t have is chemistry. This Pittsburgh team looks like they come to the ballpark every day and just have fun.
I would do anything to see the underdog Pirates eliminate or take over those redbirds from St. Louis.