So there has been a lot of issue surrounding the Cubs and other teams in the division lately, mostly about teams that are doing better than expected in the division. I was re-reading the cover story of this week's Sports Illustrated and it got me thinking as to why the Cubs seem to not be the favorites in the division anymore. Here's a quick analysis of the central division outside of Chicago to date:
Milwaukee: The brewers seem to have fallen recently, espeically with Gagne and the staff not living up to expectations. Fielder has turned it around and the home run numbers are pretty good for the starters, with Ryan Braun leading the way. But again, the pitching just hasn't been there.
Pittsburgh: The Pirates have never really been in it, with too much youth and way to many questions in the rotation. McLouth is playing out of his mind but he hasn't really done much in his career although he has only played one full season.
Cincinnati: This team was interesting to think about, and many people thought they were dark horses to steal the division. However Griffey, Freel, and Dunn are most likely to be traded, Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang have been hittable, and come on, it's Dusty Baker and Corey Patterson is on the roster.
Houston: Houston has been playing very well. The hitting HAS been there, and we all know how Berkman and Tejada are playing very well. Hunter Pence is coming into his own and Michael Bourn is one of the fastest players in the league and thus a great threat at the leadoff. The staff however is a big concern, which seems to be a repeating theme. Why the Cubs cant' seem to hit the likes of Chris Sampson or Shawn Chacon, both of whom surprisingly have lower ERA's than Roy Oswalt. It has been that kind of season though
St. Louis: The Cardinals don't have much hitting beyond Troy Glaus and Albert Pujols, but again, surprises like Ryan Ludwick seem to have popped up for the teams with little hope for contention. I expect when he falls down to earth, the cardinals will too.
I don't know, I mean maybe it's just that I'm biased towards the Cubs or that I read a lot about the Central Division too much during the offseason but it seems like the other teams just shouldn't be doing this well. There are teams like the Rays where the talent is finally coming together, and then there are the teams in the Central. What is your take?