Two down and four to go, how ridiculous is it that their are more teams in the NL Central than any other division in baseball? That's for another time.
Cincinnati Reds: Sitting at 41-41 and fourth place in the division the Reds have a lot to be happy about. They look like a team that is built to last with strong starting pitching and some good young hitters. That said, they aren't going to be contending this year. Much like the Astros they will do well enough to give them mention, but the offense isn't what it needs to be to actually have a chance in the division.
The Good: Starting pitching is the strength of this team, Johnny Cueto(right) is delivering on his big potential and Aaron Harang has had a nice bounceback year. Once Edinson Volquez gets back this will be a formidable top three, rounded out with Micah Owings and Bronson Arroyo. Offensively Joey Votto has been good, batting .359 but he missed far too much time in the first half.
The Bad: Jay Bruce(left) has big time power, 18 home runs through 80 games is evidence of that, but a .212 batting average is completely unacceptable. I thought he was supposed to be a better hitter than Adam Dunn? Left Field, Shortstop and third base have been big holes for this team, and it's shown in their production. Only two teams have scored less runs in the NL and only one division team has a lower batting average.
What to Expect: With their pitching the Reds should hang around, but unless they can bring the big sticks to the ball park hang around is all they'll do. Giving playing time to Johnny Gomes in Left Field is a good start but that's not nearly enough. They would probably be better served trading Arroyo and some of their veteran bullpen arms in an effort to make them better next year, but that is doubtful unless they fell off big time in July.
Outlook: Milwaukee will face the Reds only seven times in the second half, including a four game series in Cincy immediately after the break. Milwaukee has struggled with the Reds over the last couple of seasons, five or six wins would be nice but if the Crew can take four of seven fans should be happy.