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Will This Impressive NL Central Team Win The Division in 2023?

The NL Central is the closest division race in all of Major League Baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirates held a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers as of Thursday. But is there a case to make for the Cincinnati Reds to win the division?

Red Hot

The Reds are the hottest team in baseball. They've won eight of their last ten games and are currently on a five-game winning streak. In those ten games, the team has recorded 52 runs on 88 hits.

Shortstop Matt McClain leads the squad with eight hits in the past seven days. Former Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and outfielder Stuart Fairchild each have two home runs in the last five games.

Pitcher Ben Lively has the tenth most strikeouts over the last 30 days (39) and has picked up three wins. The 31-year-old has allowed 18 earned runs and 37 hits over the same time period.

NL Central Odds

Cincinnati sits a game and a half behind in the NL Central chase, but the sportsbooks don't seem to think the Reds have a shot.

The Brewers were -115 favorites to win the NL Central heading into their three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh has the second-best odds at +450.

Chicago is +550 to clinch the division. They are four and a half games back of the lead with a 30-37 record. St. Louis and Cincinnati are both sitting at +750 despite the Reds having seven more wins than the Cardinals.

When looking at the Reds' record against their NL Central rivals, the team is 4-1 against the Cubs and 4-3 against St. Louis. However, Cincinnati has struggled against the two clubs ahead of them in the standings. They're 2-5 when facing the Pirates and have only won one of their four games against the Brewers with a minus-five run differential.

Final Thoughts

This weekend's series against the Houston Astros will tell us how confident we should be in the Reds moving forward. If they find a way to win that series and handle their business against the Rookies, Cincinnati will be in the driver's seat for their first NL Central title since 2012.

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