From 2002 to 2009, the Chicago Cubs won three division titles. The St. Louis Cardinals took the other five. The Cincinnati Reds never had a winning record during that stretch. Then, in 2010, they figured it all out.

Outfielder Jay Bruce stayed healthy and broke out. Joey Votto stayed in the lineup all year and won the MVP award. Scott Rolen continued his career resurrection and continued to provide sturdy defense a third base. And the team’s pitching staff proved deeper and stronger than anyone expected. Cincinnati won 91 games and took the NL Central before falling flat in the NLDS.

Entering 2011, the Reds look to build upon a season in which they led the National League in runs scored and featured a bevy of young players with varied skill sets. They are no clear favorites to repeat as champs after the Milwaukee Brewers moved aggressively this winter, but they certainly remain in the mix. Here are 10 things that must go right if the Reds are to reach the playoffs again with greater success.

This is the seventh in a series of pieces listing 10 things that would have to go right for each MLB team to win a pennant this season. To find out when your favorite team’s article comes out, follow me on the twitter @MattTrueblood, or sign up for your team’s Bleacher Report newsletter.

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