The Cardinals and the Reds have been flip-flopping between first and second place all season. The Reds have hung in there tough as they played surprisingly well and the Cardinals seemed to be stuck in traction. But even though the Cardinals have gone up in the division by a game and a game only, this race seems to be over.
The Cardinals simply have more horses than the Reds do. Let's compare:
Carpenter is better than Cueto.
Wainwright is better than Leake.
Garcia is better than Arroyo.
Penny is better than Harang.
The fifth starter is weak for both teams.
Take away Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips from the Reds line up and there isn't much else happening there. They get shut down by good pitching. The Cardinals in contrast have too many weapons. There is Ludwick and Holliday (who is on fire), Pujols, Freese and Colby Rasmus. The Cardinals are more apt to score consistently and more apt to get a quality start.
The bullpen is really the Reds' only edge over the Cardinals. When you throw in Tony LaRussa over Dusty Baker, the edge is complete. The Reds were a nice story and a nice surprise. But the Cards are in the driver's seat and soon won't be looking back.