Today is the Day

Well, its been a long time coming that the Reds are playing meaningful games in August. But the time is here and now. The St. Louis Cardinals are coming to town for a three game series. And, spirits are running high here in Cincy. The Reds are taking a two game lead into the series. The unfortunate thing for the Reds is that we are facing Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter of the Cards. They are two of the top starters in the National League. But we are hot right now winning 8 of 10 including four in a row.

This series isn’t going to make or break either team since there is so many games left but I think that it means more to the Reds than St. Louis. St. Louis is supposed to win and win the division. The Reds are like the underdogs or the little engine that could. If the Reds could sweep the Cardinals that would put them up by five games with 47 games to go. That would put the Reds in a position to win this division. But if there is a split of any kind the standings won’t change. I feel deep down that the Reds could make a statement in these games.

If they can beat Carpenter or Wainwright, psychologically speaking it would give them a boost. The Reds can hit and score runs with anybody but these two guys are tough and don’t make any mistakes. As Steve wrote yesterday, the Reds need to score over three runs against these guys and give our staff the chance to win. Our starting pitching has been very good as of late, and other than Cordero walking and hitting everyone he faces, the relief pitching has been stellar as well.

But this series is different. St. Louis is who the Reds want to be. They develop players and sign good players. They have won and won. Since 2000 the Cardinals have had one losing season while making the playoffs seven times with one World Series ring. The Reds on the other hand, haven’t had a winning season since 2000. There is some sort of stigma attached to the Cardinals. The Reds owner Bob Castellini was a part owner of the St. Louis Cards before he bought the Reds. And, if I’m not mistaken he still resides in St. Louis.

It just seems like when the Cardinals are here in town, we just lose our mojo. On opening day this season, there is a sellout crowd and the fans are buzzing and we play the St. Louis Cardinals. I remember watching Aaron Harang pitch the first inning. He gets the first two guys out and up steps Albert Pujols. This is his first at-bat of the season. I was sitting with some friends on that beutiful 75 degree day and I said, “no one on base, we shouldn’t even pitch to him.” And, as soon of those words left my lips, Albert deposits one in the bleachers. And, my feelings were, here we go again.

Like I said, there is some sort of fear or anxiety that appears when the Cardinals face the Reds. So, like I stated before, today is the day. Don’t look ahead or behind. The Reds can make a statement today if they can beat Chris Carpenter. It will set the tone for this series and maybe the rest of the year. This city wants the Reds to be good so bad that its sick. In the past few years, the Reds were already out of the race and we were all clamoring for the Bengals. The Reds go on the backburner. But, I grew up here in Cincy and this is a Reds town and always has been. The front page of the paper yesterday ran an article on the way the Reds merchandise was flying off the shelves and the downtown hotels were booked up for this series. The town is buzzing right now. The national media is giving the Reds some attention. They played a Fox nationally televised game last week and tonight the Reds and Cards are on ESPN. They are starting to make believers out of so many people.

So, I say, wipe the slates and records clean. For the last 50 games we are in a match play situation with St. Louis. And, today is the beginning.

I would like to say that I am going to the game tonight but my record this year is below .500. The game should be sold out by the first pitch so, they won’t need my voice. I will be perfectly happy to be on a treadmill and watch. I am not superstitious but I already saw Carpenter destroy us on opening day. I am not giving the Cardinals any luck.