I guess the crash ate my post because I had more pictures. Here's a re-run:
This is the run differential for all NL Central teams from this decade. Run differential is runs scored minus runs allowed. Negative numbers are bad, mmm-kay? Notice two teams consistently below the line? Notice also a basically straight line for the Reds in the -110-ish to the -100?
Hey, at least we're not the Pirates! Everyone else, however, is on the smiling side of zero.
Here are the runs scored over the same amount of time:
Another kind of 710-ish straight line for the Redlegs. The Astros seem to have lost some offense but the Pirates, Brewers and sadly, the Baby Bears have all gained some. The Cards are about the same.
Here are runs allowed:
In this case, it's better to be lower on the scale and the Reds have trended slightly down. I think this would confirm that the pitching staff, while not great, is slightly better. The Brewers seem to have improved the most while the Pirates are 2003-2004 Reds bad.
So, seeing these charts and the teams that the Reds play most of their games against, what do you think? It seems to me that a few years ago, the NL Central was kind of a joke division but now you have 3 teams well above a zero run differential and 2 teams well below. It doesn't seem like the Reds have kept up with the Joneses.