So why is this weekend’s three-game series between the Cardinals and the Reds important?
1. A Reds sweep won’t get them past the Cardinals or even pull them to a tie in the division, but being one game behind them is far better than any other scenario you could imagine. A sweep would certainly do wonders for the team’s overall psyche as the Cards lead the season series to date, 6 games to 3.
2. A Cards sweep could spell doom for the Reds as far as repeating as NLC champs, provided you believe the Reds can still win the division. The Cards would find themselves 7 games ahead of the Reds. You know all too well that the Cardinals and their fans would love nothing more than to be that team which puts a foot on the Reds’ throat. A Cards sweep could also place the Reds in a wild card race with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who sit 4.5 games behind the Reds for the second and final NL WC spot.
Yes, teams have come back from large deficits in the past, but the climb gets certainly steeper. Having to climb over two teams adds to the difficulty for Cincinnati. The Cards are well within striking position of the Pirates.
3. Speaking of the Pirates, they play their next six games against teams under .500: 3 against the Colorado Rockies (51-59) and three in facing the Miami Marlins (42-65). Both series are also at PNC Park. In the last two seasons, they’ve experienced a collapse. Might not be the case this season. They just claimed first place in the division by claiming 4 of 5 from the Cards. Talk about adding to a team’s psyche.
After these next three games, we could have a better idea of what the remainder of 2013 will entail.