The New Red Machine rolls. Jay Bruce becomes a star—he and Joey Votto form the NL's best one-two punch. With hot pitching in October, the Reds get to their first Series since 1990.
Injuries and subpar starting pitching derail them, but there's still hope for next year. Every key player on the roster is under control through 2012.
Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo battle each other for the Cy Young; the offense continues to slug away (750 or more runs for four straight years); the Brewers are an October threat.
With Greinke's rib injury lingering and their suspect infield defense faltering, they fall into a hole by May—and the distraction of Prince Fielder trade talk becomes pervasive.
Carlos Zambrano is an ace again, and Aramis Ramirez produces like the number 4 hitter he's expected to be. The Cubs grab the wild card in the fall—and sign Pujols over the winter.