2013 Preview- NL Central

This week we start off with my predictions for the NL Central.  It will be followed by the AL Central. 

In case you missed previous posts, check out:

P.S. I am sorry that the picture has the Astros logo in it. This year the Astros will move from the NL Central to the AL West.  My predictions for the ‘Stros (hint: not good) will appear in the AL West edition.
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5. Chicago Cubs

The lovable losers on the north side of Chicago never seem to have less then 100 losses.   It’s all because of the goat curse. (The legend says that a man brought a goat to a World Series game at Wrigley but was asked to leave.  He put a curse on the Cubs because he was mad they kicked him out.  The Cubbies haven’t gotten to a World Series in almost 90 years!).  My prediction: the curse will not be broken this year. 

4. Milwaukee Brewers

The 2011 NLCS contender had a fairly good 2012, with Ryan Braun (former NL MVP), Martin Maldonado (who hits a lot of grand slams), and Norichika Aoki (a super-fast RF) leading the way. But since pitcher Shawn Marcum headed to the Mets this offseason and they no longer have first baseman Prince Fielder, I predict Brewers fans will not see Bernie the Brewer slide into that pool much after home runs.  In 2013, there isn’t much reason to “Fear the Beer.”  (Thank Goodness!).

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

Andrew McCutchen drops bombs for the “Jolly Rogers” almost every day, and he was so good in 2012 that fans voted him onto the cover to MLB13 The Show.  This offseason they acquired Russell Martin from the Yankees and Starling Marte is a future STARling.  But they lost their premiere closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox.  I predict that Cutch and the rest of the rest of his Pirate crew will have a winning season, but end their pirate journey on the deserted island of third place.

2. Saint Louis Cardinals

There is something in the Mississippi River water that causes the St. Louis Cardinals to always find their way into the postseason even when it don’t play all year like they deserve it.  Like last year.  And 2011 too.  Even after Albert Pujols flew from flock, they still sure do have a powerful lineup for 2013.  And, as usual, a whole lot of luck (9th inning of Game 5, weird infield fly rule call, 2011 WS Games 6 & 7).  While I don’t think they will win the Division, I think they will face and defeat the Atlanta Braves again in the wild card spot to play Washington in the NLDS. Even picturing the Cardinals back in the post-season and possibly facing the Nats is so hard to say.  

1. Cincinnati Reds

Joey Votto comes back for 2013.  Votto is a great defensive and offensive player.  The Reds also have a great 2nd baseman, Brandon Phillips.  The Great American Ballpark is a very friendly ballpark for these hitters, and lots of balls travel out of the park there that wouldn’t make it out of places like Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.  The Reds have amazing pitching too– Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman to name a few.  Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine will continue to dominate in 2013.  I am not sure they have a better team than the Nationals, but they are very tough to play, and I am glad we see them twice early in the season and are done with them by the end of April. 

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Next post will look at the AL Central.

I’m looking forward to my appearance on Wednesday on Fox 5 DC.  Watch starting at 8:30 in the morning and remember to IGNITE YOUR MATT-ITUDE!

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