The Reds ended their chase to repeat as National League Central Division champion last night as Ryan Braun‘s Home Run sailed over the wall against the Rockies. While they are mathematically still in the Wild Card Race…OK enough said.
Imagine my joy when my smart phone alerted me that the new Reds schedule was now available for my viewing pleasure. No longer am I forced to review past failures or wistfully remember Jay Bruce hitting his walk off homer last season. I can now begin dreaming anew as I peruse a new season of hope and perceived triumph.
The Season begins a bit later than I am accustomed to on April 6th with a visit from the Florida Marlins, a mere side show for the main event just 9 days later when the St. Louis Cardinals come to town. I will boldly predict now that the Cardinals will still have Albert Pujols on their roster because I can not imagine a scenario where they try to fill the stands with paying customers without his presence. The end of the Cards series marks the beginning of the second longest road trip of the season in Washington, St. Louis, and Chicago; 10 games in 11 days with a day off following the Chicago tilt. The month will end with a 9 game homestand that will run into the beginning of May.
The month of May will be the first visits to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. I expect the Brewers will be a bit weaker next year with the free agency departure expected by Prince Fielder but I have a gut feeling the Pittsburgh Pirates will be a more serious threat to win the division after sampling just a taste of first place at the All Star break this season. May also marks an interesting trip for the team. 5 days in New York City vs. the Mets and the Yankees. If I were a player I would probably look forward to that trip. The Yankees will mark the first inter league action of the season and the only inter league play in May. The end of the month with see a second trip to Pittsburgh, I find it surprising the Reds will visit the Pirates twice in May without welcoming them into GABP until June.
June opens with a trip to Houston, home of the abominable hump in the outfield. After this series is completed the Pirates will visit the Reds at home for the first time in what I believe will be an important series before the All Star Break. After the Pirates depart we welcome both Detroit and Cleveland to the Queen City. I would hope our inter league record next year is an improvement over this one but facing these two quality clubs will be sure to make it a challenge. The Reds will end the month with road series in Cleveland and Minnesota before the first visit on home soil by the 2011 Division Champion Brewers (with World Series Rings?)
June 28th marks the beginning of the longest road trip of the season. It is bad enough that the trip is 11 games in 11 days but then stick it on the left coast and we could have a recipe for disaster. We start with San Francisco and progress down the coast to Los Angeles and San Diego. The only good news here is at the end of this journey the team reaches the All Star break for a well deserved breather. After the ASG the Reds return for some home cooking with the longest home stand of the season. Ten games in ten days starting with the Cardinals and ending with the Brewers with the Diamondbacks sandwiched in between for 4 days.
August is a month that presents concern for me. It begins with a 4 game series at home vs the Padres then we welcome the Pirates back to town. We then hit the road for 3 games in Milwaukee and 4 in Chicago and come back home for series against the Mets and Cubs. Challenges but no problems yet. The problem is this, until the Reds can prove to me they can beat the Phillies, I am confident they will lose to them and from August 20-23 they will be visiting the inhospitable Philadephia squad. Making matters worse, I have noticed after the Phillies have their way with the Redlegs they tend to not play well for a while after meeting them. Enter a visit from the Cardinals and we could have a recipe for disaster here. Or, looking at the bright side of things, the Reds could have an opportunity to prove they are no longer the Phillies whipping boys and actually play a competent brand of baseball. Here’s to silver linings. The month ends with visits to Arizona and Houston.
September is my favorite part of the schedule. Aside from another opportunity for torture at home against the Phillies to start the month the Reds will play 3 division foes at home: the Pirates, Astros, and Brewers. The season ends with a final visit to Pittsburgh (be nice if they could clinch against the Pirates for me to be in attendance) and finally a visit back to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
In all this is a better schedule than last year and I hope we have a team worthy of it. Hope does spring eternal!
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