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View Full Version : The NL Central is Messed Up



kaldaniels
06-28-2009, 11:42 PM
Look at todays standings...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/standings?date=20090628&type=reg

In every other division...the teams with a positive run differential all are on top of those with negative run differential. Then we come to the NL Central...our last place team has a positive run differential among other things.

It blows my mind after watching the Reds play over the last 6 weeks that they are only 2.5 games out of first...I'll certainly take it.

From a divisional standpoint, and to-be acquistions aside,...how do you forsee this playing out? Are the Cards the team to beat? Is Pittsburgh due to make a run? Are the Reds doomed for 5th place (they should be if you believe in the almighty Pythagoras)? Is this a by-product of being the only 6 team division (I've debated before that being in the 6 team division hurts the Reds playoff hopes)? Maybe this all was not worthy of a thread, but after a quick look at the standings today, many questions were raised in my mind.

cincrazy
06-28-2009, 11:54 PM
Look at todays standings...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/standings?date=20090628&type=reg

In every other division...the teams with a positive run differential all are on top of those with negative run differential. Then we come to the NL Central...our last place team has a positive run differential among other things.

It blows my mind after watching the Reds play over the last 6 weeks that they are only 2.5 games out of first...I'll certainly take it.

From a divisional standpoint, and to-be acquistions aside,...how do you forsee this playing out? Are the Cards the team to beat? Is Pittsburgh due to make a run? Are the Reds doomed for 5th place (they should be if you believe in the almighty Pythagoras)? Is this a by-product of being the only 6 team division (I've debated before that being in the 6 team division hurts the Reds playoff hopes)? Maybe this all was not worthy of a thread, but after a quick look at the standings today, many questions were raised in my mind.

I think the Reds will finish better than 5th. Votto being out for a long stretch certainly doesn't help the Pythag any, but that should correct itself as we go along. I can't see us stealing the division or the wild card, but .500 is probably more than likely. Barring any more injuries, in which case .500 would be a pipe dream, because this team isn't very deep to say the least.

reds1869
06-29-2009, 07:41 AM
I really feel this is a second place team. In the end I still think the Cubs will win the division, but I think we'll compete with the Cards and Brewers for second place. That said, we could finish anywhere from first to fifth and everyone will probably be in striking distance most of the season.

TRF
06-29-2009, 09:51 AM
Why does everyone think the Cubs are contenders? I see them as a 4th place team at best. I think the offense is weak, and the pitching is erratic. Soriano is absolutely killing them with the bat and the glove. Fukudome hasn't been much better. D.Lee has only started to hit, but who knows when Ramirez will be back. I don't see them overtaking anyone.

Meanwhile, the Reds have hung around and have in essence acquired a big bat in Joey Votto. EE looks to return this week as well. And if Dusty can get it through his thick head the Dickerson is the man for CF, this team has a shot.

Strikes Out Looking
06-29-2009, 11:05 AM
This has the looks of a good old fashioned pennant race with no team conceding. Two major factors will be acquisitions and injuries--and I don't know how either can be predicted at this point.

Among other things, a race with 4-6 teams in it will help attendance for most of the teams in the division, which I think is a very good thing.

I for one am very excited after passing though the nonsense of interleague.

BCubb2003
06-29-2009, 11:13 AM
Pythagoras is dead. Just win, baby.

fearofpopvol1
06-29-2009, 12:00 PM
Why does everyone think the Cubs are contenders? I see them as a 4th place team at best. I think the offense is weak, and the pitching is erratic. Soriano is absolutely killing them with the bat and the glove. Fukudome hasn't been much better. D.Lee has only started to hit, but who knows when Ramirez will be back. I don't see them overtaking anyone.

Meanwhile, the Reds have hung around and have in essence acquired a big bat in Joey Votto. EE looks to return this week as well. And if Dusty can get it through his thick head the Dickerson is the man for CF, this team has a shot.

I think the Cubs pitching is actually pretty good. Their bullpen has improved and I think their rotation will continue to get better. I do think their offense is a bit weak though. I think they'll hang around and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them make a move or 2 in the coming weeks to improve their team.

Falls City Beer
06-29-2009, 01:07 PM
Why does everyone think the Cubs are contenders? .

Because they have the best starting pitching in the division. And that's pretty much the alpha and the omega of contention.

cincrazy
06-29-2009, 01:44 PM
Because they have the best starting pitching in the division. And that's pretty much the alpha and the omega of contention.

Their rotation certainly isn' bad, but they have as many question marks as anyone else. Particularly with Carlos Zambrano. The guy has the reputation of an ace, but I wouldn't want any part of him on my staff. When the going gets tough, Zambrano's emotions go. And not for the better.

RED VAN HOT
06-29-2009, 02:32 PM
My take is that no team in the division has established its superiority or inferiority. More likely than not, at this point in the season, the winners and losers are starting to become apparent. The GB spread between first and last is lengthening and the run differentials are starting to reflect the spread. The five games currently separating first from last is more indicative of mid-April than late June. The acquisition or return of a single player can tip the balance toward any of the central teams. If that happens, the run differential is likely to follow.

In 2007, Colorado had a run differential of -25 on this date. They finished with a +101. I doubt that the current run differentials are very significant in this division.

TRF
06-29-2009, 04:57 PM
Because they have the best starting pitching in the division. And that's pretty much the alpha and the omega of contention.

Not with that weak offense. I dare say it's weaker at every position except SS than Cincinnati's.

reds1869
06-29-2009, 05:07 PM
Their rotation certainly isn' bad, but they have as many question marks as anyone else. Particularly with Carlos Zambrano. The guy has the reputation of an ace, but I wouldn't want any part of him on my staff. When the going gets tough, Zambrano's emotions go. And not for the better.

I'll take Zambrano on my pitching staff any day of the week.

membengal
06-29-2009, 05:26 PM
What else is messed up is the Reds' schedule. They are off tonite (again, like every Monday in June, really weird), and every other NL Central squad is playing. With tonight's game, St. Louis will have played four more than Cincy. The Reds will shortly, it would appear, be playing a LOT of games without a ton of breaks.

redsfaninbsg
06-29-2009, 05:53 PM
What else is messed up is the Reds' schedule. They are off tonite (again, like every Monday in June, really weird), and every other NL Central squad is playing. With tonight's game, St. Louis will have played four more than Cincy. The Reds will shortly, it would appear, be playing a LOT of games without a ton of breaks.

It's hard to really complain about that though, with all the injuries the fewer the games the better until the Reds can get healthy.

RedsManRick
06-29-2009, 07:11 PM
The Baseball Prospectus playoff odds report helps clear things up. Basically it takes an adjusted look at the standings based on things like runs scored/ runs against, quality of opponents, etc. and then projects that out with some regression to the mean. Here's how they project the NL Central currently:



Record Champs WC Playoffs
Cards 88-75 53% 6% 59%
Brewers 83-79 20% 6% 26%
Cubs 80-82 10% 4% 14%
Reds 79-83 8% 3% 11%
Pirates 78-84 6% 2% 8%
Astros 76-86 4% 1% 5%

So they peg the Reds as a 79 win team with an 11% chance of making the playoffs. Now, consider that they don't project changes in the team composition, such as the return of Votto or EE and you could optimistically put our playoff chances in the 15-20% range.

In either case, they have the Cards as the class of the division, though hardly superb, and then a scrum for 2nd place. I think the Reds are an impact bat away from a real contender. This division is likely to be a dog fight to the end.

bucksfan2
06-30-2009, 09:08 AM
The Baseball Prospectus playoff odds report helps clear things up. Basically it takes an adjusted look at the standings based on things like runs scored/ runs against, quality of opponents, etc. and then projects that out with some regression to the mean. Here's how they project the NL Central currently:



Record Champs WC Playoffs
Cards 88-75 53% 6% 59%
Brewers 83-79 20% 6% 26%
Cubs 80-82 10% 4% 14%
Reds 79-83 8% 3% 11%
Pirates 78-84 6% 2% 8%
Astros 76-86 4% 1% 5%

So they peg the Reds as a 79 win team with an 11% chance of making the playoffs. Now, consider that they don't project changes in the team composition, such as the return of Votto or EE and you could optimistically put our playoff chances in the 15-20% range.

In either case, they have the Cards as the class of the division, though hardly superb, and then a scrum for 2nd place. I think the Reds are an impact bat away from a real contender. This division is likely to be a dog fight to the end.

I just don't buy this. I think the Brewers have the best all around team in the NL Central. They have the pitching and good young players that the Cards don't. IMO the Cards are an injury away from becoming the 4th place team in the Central. If Pujols or even Carpenter miss an extended period of time going down the stretch the Cards will have a tough time hanging around.

I am not a big fan of the Cubs. Their best two pitchers are a head case and an injury waiting to happen. They are also old and the injury bug will hit them before the season is over. Also don't underestimate the negativity that will surround the Cubs if they hit a rough patch. I just don't think this team has it together well enough to overcome 100+ years of losing.

The team that wins this division will likely put together a good 20 game run. They will do something the Rockies are doing right now. It will put enough distance between themselves an the other teams to play .500 ball down the stretch and win the division.

RedsManRick
06-30-2009, 11:11 AM
I just don't buy this. I think the Brewers have the best all around team in the NL Central. They have the pitching and good young players that the Cards don't. IMO the Cards are an injury away from becoming the 4th place team in the Central. If Pujols or even Carpenter miss an extended period of time going down the stretch the Cards will have a tough time hanging around.

I am not a big fan of the Cubs. Their best two pitchers are a head case and an injury waiting to happen. They are also old and the injury bug will hit them before the season is over. Also don't underestimate the negativity that will surround the Cubs if they hit a rough patch. I just don't think this team has it together well enough to overcome 100+ years of losing.

The team that wins this division will likely put together a good 20 game run. They will do something the Rockies are doing right now. It will put enough distance between themselves an the other teams to play .500 ball down the stretch and win the division.

Well, this projection doesn't pretend to account for injury risk or negativity. It is what it is; a projection of the full season based on an extrapolation of performance to date. Obviously, a "real" projection would include factors about likely future performance (such as the return of your team's best offensive player) that this projection did not.

As for your comment about the Brewers "hav(ing) the pitching", here's their rotation thus far:

Gallardo, 2.86 ERA
Looper, 4.90 ERA
Suppan, 4.86
Bush, 5.67
Parra, 7.52

If that was the Reds rotation, I doubt we'd be saying that we "have the pitching". Gallardo has been great and the bullpen has been very good, but make no mistake; the Brewers are implementing a slightly more productive model of the Reds teams of the last decade and have a +7 run differential that is not represented by their 41-35 record.

I think the primary take away is pretty clear. None of the teams in the central are great and it's likely that it's going to go down to the wire.

Homer Bailey
06-30-2009, 11:12 AM
I just don't buy this. I think the Brewers have the best all around team in the NL Central. They have the pitching and good young players that the Cards don't. IMO the Cards are an injury away from becoming the 4th place team in the Central. If Pujols or even Carpenter miss an extended period of time going down the stretch the Cards will have a tough time hanging around.

I am not a big fan of the Cubs. Their best two pitchers are a head case and an injury waiting to happen. They are also old and the injury bug will hit them before the season is over. Also don't underestimate the negativity that will surround the Cubs if they hit a rough patch. I just don't think this team has it together well enough to overcome 100+ years of losing.

The team that wins this division will likely put together a good 20 game run. They will do something the Rockies are doing right now. It will put enough distance between themselves an the other teams to play .500 ball down the stretch and win the division.

The Brewers do NOT have the pitching.

Falls City Beer
06-30-2009, 11:25 AM
Well, this projection doesn't pretend to account for injury risk or negativity. It is what it is; a projection of the full season based on an extrapolation of performance to date. Obviously, a "real" projection would include factors about likely future performance (such as the return of your team's best offensive player) that this projection did not.

As for your comment about the Brewers "hav(ing) the pitching", here's their rotation thus far:

Gallardo, 2.86 ERA
Looper, 4.90 ERA
Suppan, 4.86
Bush, 5.67
Parra, 7.52

If that was the Reds rotation, I doubt we'd be saying that we "have the pitching". Gallardo has been great and the bullpen has been very good, but make no mistake; the Brewers are implementing a slightly more productive model of the Reds teams of the last decade and have a +7 run differential that is not represented by their 41-35 record.

I think the primary take away is pretty clear. None of the teams in the central are great and it's likely that it's going to go down to the wire.


Brewers' offense is great, better than the Reds' by quite a bit. Reds' pitching is better 1-12, but not nearly as good as the Brewers' offense is better than the Reds'. If that makes sense.

The Cards' pitching is better than the Reds', but their offenses are pretty similar.

Falls City Beer
06-30-2009, 11:27 AM
The Brewers do NOT have the pitching.

Really, the only teams who do have the pitching are the Cards and Cubs.

OnBaseMachine
06-30-2009, 11:29 AM
I would take a healthy Reds pitching staff over any pitching staff in the NL Central. The loss of Volquez has really hurt.

Falls City Beer
06-30-2009, 11:33 AM
I would take a healthy Reds pitching staff over any pitching staff in the NL Central. The loss of Volquez has really hurt.

Sure, but other teams have weathered losses; that's life. This team's depth in pitching is beyond razor-thin.

Homer Bailey
06-30-2009, 11:35 AM
I would take a healthy Reds pitching staff over any pitching staff in the NL Central. The loss of Volquez has really hurt.

Agree.

bucksfan2
06-30-2009, 11:41 AM
As for your comment about the Brewers "hav(ing) the pitching", here's their rotation thus far:

Gallardo, 2.86 ERA
Looper, 4.90 ERA
Suppan, 4.86
Bush, 5.67
Parra, 7.52

If that was the Reds rotation, I doubt we'd be saying that we "have the pitching". Gallardo has been great and the bullpen has been very good, but make no mistake; the Brewers are implementing a slightly more productive model of the Reds teams of the last decade and have a +7 run differential that is not represented by their 41-35 record.

I think the primary take away is pretty clear. None of the teams in the central are great and it's likely that it's going to go down to the wire.

Do you think the pitching will remain the same all year long? I think the Brewers pitching will improve as the season goes along.

TRF
06-30-2009, 11:46 AM
Really, the only teams who do have the pitching are the Cards and Cubs.

And the Cubs offense is weaker BY FAR than the Reds. Not contenders.

IslandRed
06-30-2009, 11:50 AM
Do you think the pitching will remain the same all year long? I think the Brewers pitching will improve as the season goes along.

It's pretty reasonable to think they'll figure out a way to get better than 7.52 out of Parra's spot, but otherwise, there's nothing real fluky going on. Suppan and Looper are pitching like the 30-something journeymen they are after leaving Dave Duncan's protective custody. Bush is simply having a bad year; walks up + homers up = ERA up. It could get better but there's no guarantee it will.

BRM
06-30-2009, 11:51 AM
And the Cubs offense is weaker BY FAR than the Reds. Not contenders.

By far? They have scored 10 fewer runs in 1 more game. Not a massive difference.

Falls City Beer
06-30-2009, 11:52 AM
And the Cubs offense is weaker BY FAR than the Reds. Not contenders.

Cubs', Reds', and Cards' offenses are similar.

The two best offenses in the division are the Brewers and Pirates.

RedsManRick
06-30-2009, 11:55 AM
Really, the only teams who do have the pitching are the Cards and Cubs.


Rank Tm W L W-L% R/G ERA R ER WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1 SFG 41 34 0.547 3.76 3.61 282 267 1.33 8.2 0.8 3.8 8.0 2.1
2 LAD 49 28 0.636 3.82 3.61 294 280 1.28 7.7 0.8 3.8 7.6 2.0
3 CHC 36 37 0.493 4.18 3.92 305 286 1.35 8.2 1.1 4.0 7.8 2.0
4 STL 41 37 0.526 4.27 3.89 333 299 1.29 8.6 0.9 3.0 6.2 2.1
5 PIT 35 41 0.461 4.34 4.25 330 314 1.39 8.8 0.9 3.6 5.4 1.5
6 ATL 35 40 0.467 4.39 3.89 329 292 1.35 8.5 0.7 3.6 7.6 2.1
7 CIN 37 37 0.500 4.43 4.06 328 303 1.36 8.5 1.1 3.7 6.5 1.7
8 HOU 36 38 0.486 4.51 4.17 338 312 1.40 9.2 1.2 3.4 7.2 2.1
9 NYM 37 38 0.493 4.64 4.25 348 316 1.42 8.9 0.9 3.9 6.5 1.7
10 MIL 41 35 0.539 4.67 4.50 355 335 1.39 8.8 1.2 3.7 7.2 2.0
11 COL 40 36 0.526 4.74 4.47 360 334 1.42 9.6 0.9 3.2 6.7 2.1
12 FLA 39 39 0.500 4.88 4.42 381 344 1.42 9.0 0.9 3.8 7.5 2.0
13 SDP 33 42 0.440 4.95 4.66 371 349 1.39 8.8 1.1 3.7 7.2 1.9
14 PHI 39 34 0.534 4.99 4.80 364 353 1.46 9.6 1.5 3.6 7.2 2.0
15 ARI 30 46 0.395 5.00 4.49 380 346 1.39 9.2 1.0 3.3 7.0 2.1
16 WSN 22 52 0.297 5.65 5.22 424 385 1.55 9.8 0.9 4.2 5.7 1.4
LgAvg 37 38 0.490 4.57 4.26 345 320 1.39 8.8 1.0 3.6 7.0 1.9

Chip R
06-30-2009, 11:57 AM
It's pretty reasonable to think they'll figure out a way to get better than 7.52 out of Parra's spot, but otherwise, there's nothing real fluky going on.


And people here are complaining about the Reds' 5th starter?

Falls City Beer
06-30-2009, 11:59 AM
And people here are complaining about the Reds' 5th starter?

But who IS that person right now with Volquez out? Bailey? Maloney? Whoever it is, it's a typical revolving door of Reds' farmhand cowpoo.

TRF
06-30-2009, 12:00 PM
By far? They have scored 10 fewer runs in 1 more game. Not a massive difference.

I think the difference is that Votto is back, EE soon, and CF seems to be working itself out.

Meanwhile the Cubs OF is a mess, A. Ramirez return is uncertain, Soto has been abysmal and D. Lee is only now starting to heat up.

I'd take the Reds offense over the Cubs 10 times out of 10 at every position except SS.

Chip R
06-30-2009, 12:16 PM
But who IS that person right now with Volquez out? Bailey? Maloney? Whoever it is, it's a typical revolving door of Reds' farmhand cowpoo.


Owings is the de facto 5th starter.

OnBaseMachine
07-01-2009, 11:45 AM
This is a big homestand for the Reds. They really need to win these next two games with Cueto and Harang pitching. The weekend series against the Cards has a chance to be disappointing. Why? Because the Cards lucked out and missed our top three starters - Volquez to injury, and Cueto/Harang are pitching the final two games against the Diamondbacks. I was hoping for a 4-2 homestand but 3-3 is looking like a more realistic scenario.