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NL Central Preview: Previewing From Team B To Team A

The National League Central is anybody's to win. Except the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros.

It's the last Friday before the 2011 MLB season starts and hopefully the last cold weather weekend until October. To celebrate, let's take a trip around the National League Central and see how it will shake out.

Milwaukee Brewers (Projected record: 89-73)
After attempting to play with a one man rotation in 2010, the Brewers made strong moves this offseason by acquiring starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to complement Yovani Gallardo. Led by a stellar pitching staff and a bounce-back season from Ryan Braun, the Brewers take the NL Central and carry on their long  tradition of not winning a playoff game.

Also, Chris Narveson!

Cincinnati Reds (Projected record: 87-75)

Dusty Baker has never managed back-to-back division winners. I don't know why this is and I do not care to theorize, I'm just willing to bet the Reds as a team will regress from their championship run of 2010. While I do like General Manager Walt Jocketty's continued goal of recreating the Cardinals' 2004 105-win team by employing a bunch of league-average starting pitchers and a robust offense, in Dusty Baker I do not trust.

Saint Louis Cardinals (Projected record: 82-80)
In a eerily familiar season, the Cardinals will get off to a hot start in April and the early half of May until the San Diego Padres point out the fact that "right fielder" Lance Berkman is using a Segway. Forced to play without his personal mobility device, he strains his hamstring in the second inning and is lost for the season. In June, David Freese attempts to ford a river and is lost to dysentery.

In a happier twist, Chris Carpenter takes home the gold in FOX's summer hit TV show "So You Think You're Angry!"

Chicago Cubs
(Projected record: 33-55)
The Cubs get off to a hot start and are twenty games above .500 on Memorial Day. They don't win a single game after that and end the season on literally a roller coaster to hell.

(rest of season canceled on account of being in Hell.)

Pittsburgh Pirates (Projected record: 68-94)

I don't know. Somebody does something and the view from the ballpark is awesome. Also, those sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries on them are fascinating. And I could walk the Clemente Bridge all the live long day. But, yeah, another bad year in Pittsburgh.

Houston Astros
(Projected record: 61-101)
Remember 2004? Or 2005? Pettitte, Clemens, Beltran, Berkman, Bagwell, Kent, Biggio? Epic playoff games, a National League Championship? Well, in his fuorth year as GM, this is Ed Wade's opening day depth chart:


Well, look at it! Look at it, Ed! Look at what you've done!