If you’re wondering whether or not the Reds will be as good as advertised, you won’t have to wait long. The Reds will immediately be forced to run the gauntlet as the class of the National League lurks silently in anticipation after Opening Day festivities.
The Reds will be met on Opening Day by Josh Johnson and the rest of the GTA Vice City Marlins. Cueto will face a lineup consisting of Jose Reyes, Mike Stanton and Hanley Ramirez, most likely all batting consecutively. After three games with the fish, the Reds will open their doors to welcome in the defending World Series champions for three. Upon conclusion of that three game stint, the team will travel to Washington D.C. where they’ll more than likely get another taste of Stephen Strasburg. And Stephen isn’t the only good arm that rotation employs anymore. If you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware of the other two arms the Nationals have recently brought on to beef the rotation — Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, who earned a big ring for his services last season.
After finishing four with the Nationals, the Reds will travel to St. Louis for another three games with their fellow NL Central aquaintances. They’ll get a brief rest in Chicago before traveling to the west coast and playing three with the Giants. Big picture: in the month of April alone, the Reds have a chance at facing Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Tim Lincecum, and Matt Cain.
If you’re looking ahead to May for relief, you won’t be looking very long. Despite two intermittent series with the Pirates, the Reds will play the Brewers, Nationals, Braves, Mets, Yankees and Rockies. In fact, there’s a seven game road trip where the Reds travel to Atlanta, then to New York to sample both of New York’s baseball teams, and where the Mets aren’t posed to do much damage this season, they only account for two of those seven games. And did I mention the Reds went 5-11 against the Pirates last year?
Of course, we’re looking way ahead here. But that’s the point. Would fan confidence reduce dramatically if the Reds stumbled out of the block at 3-7, in a 162 game season, in a baseball city like Cincinnati? Absolutely. If the Reds only manage to amass three wins in the first two weeks of the season against the Marlins, Nationals and Cardinals, three teams looking to have very successful 2012 campaigns, you’re going to witness overreaction that makes the New York Post blush.
Just food for thought. But don’t worry. If you’re stressing about the beginning of the season, relax. Take a deep break. And check out August, September.
But what of it? Considering the new make-up of your 2012 Reds, would you rather have them tested early, with an opportunity to clean up down the stretch against weaker teams like they did in 2010, or would you rather see them pad the record considerably before the All Star break and then test the waters against the NL’s best down the final stretch?
A major topic that will tirelessly stalk the Reds this entire season will undoubtedly be the amount of people watching the game at GABP. A tough first couple of months could aggitate an already cynicial Cincinnati fanbase that has witnessed its team continually struggle against baseball’s elite.
Or. Perhaps the Reds will finally join that club themselves.