By Lauren Woode
Follow her on Twitter: @LaurenIsLive
I am from Cincinnati. Let me just get that out of the way first. I have been a Reds fan since birth. I think I stopped being a Bengals fan after the early nineties because there is just no point, but I have always pulled for the Reds. It isn’t often that I could say I really believed they could win the division. I am a Homer, but also a realist. And the reality is the Cincinnati Reds will win the NL Central again in 2013.
They are pissed that they lost to the Giants in 3 straight games AT HOME in the postseason last year and so are the fans. The big news is Aroldis Chapman will be in the starting rotation finally. Yes, he is a great closer, but he was always supposed to be a starter. Our pitching was lights out for most of 2012 and I hope it continues. Jonathan Broxton, who did well in his first year with the club, will move up to closer. We struggled at the plate though and it continues in spring training. We traded Drew Stubbs to the Indians for Shin-Soo Choo. Stubby was fantastic in the outfield, but horrible at the plate. Choo is lighting it up in camp and impressing management. He’s learning to play centerfield instead of right. Choo will be our everyday leadoff hitter, which we desperately needed last year. Phillips and Votto are warming up in the WBC. If Jay Bruce and the rest of the lineup can hit a little better than 2012, we will handle the division.
Second place will go to the St. Louis Cardinals. The roster has hardly changed a bit since 2012, except for the unfortunate and indefinite loss of Chris Carpenter to the starting rotation. Shelby Miller or Joe Kelly will fill the 5th spot. Matt Carpenter and Daniel Descalso are options for starting second baseman. The Cards will be good, but they won’t beat my Reds this year. Not a chance.
The problem with the rest of the NL Central is pitching, pitching, and more pitching. I’m going to give third place to the Milwaukee Brewers because of their offense. They led the National League towards the end of the 2012 season in homeruns, stolen bases, RBIs and slugging percentage. After Yovani Gallardo, they have a bunch of young, unproven starting pitchers. The Ryan Braun controversy lingers, but the team isn’t talking about it.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will come in fourth. This team is plagued by second half collapses and I don’t think their pitching is good enough to make a dent in the division. They have A.J. Burnet, Wandy Rodriguez and who? Not good enough. They signed Russell Martin, so he should add experience behind the plate and some good at bats. The Pirates will not be better as a whole in 2013.
The Chicago Cubs are in the basement. As I stated in a previous post about the White Sox, the fire is missing in the Windy City. They are rebuilding their team on the Northside as well as the Southside. The Cubs acquired quite a few arms for the starting rotation in Edwin Jackson, Carlos Villanueva, Scott Feldman and Scott Baker. They are having problems with closer Carlos Marmol and he is in some trade rumors. Jeff Samardzija has earned the opening day start, while Matt Garza is still struggling with injury. With a bunch of young fielders and bad pitching, Chicago lost 101 games last season. I hope they do better than that in 2013, but with Houston moving over to the American League, the Cubs will be at the bottom of the division.
Next week… the East!