After finishing third in the National League Central a year ago, the Cincinnati Reds are the division champions in 2012 and are poised to make a run at the National League pennant.
Unlike the 2010 division-winning Reds, this Cincinnati team has built its record using a different formula. The 2010 team finished 91-71, driven mostly by a prolific offense and run prevention that rated better than league average. The 2012 version has been the exact opposite: elite run prevention combined with a roughly league-average offense.
The run prevention is a product of management spending the offseason improving what was a lackluster pitching staff. Meanwhile, outside of signing Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati didn't do much to improve its offense. To be fair, the Reds did rank second in the NL in runs last season. But as we've seen this season, an offense tied too much to one player can hit lulls, and the Reds have to wonder if that will cost them in the postseason.