Cincinnati Reds schedule: Getting off of the blocks quickly is essential

Cincinnati Reds Opening Day at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati Reds Opening Day at Great American Ball Park.

Everyone is excited! Fans, players, coaches, and broadcasters are all happy to have the beautiful game of baseball back. But, while Opening Day always brings excitement, that feeling can wear off quickly if the Cincinnati Reds don’t get off the blocks quickly.

Before you know it, it’s the end of April and teams have built some sort of momentum in one direction or the other. Unfortunately, the Reds do not have a good history here and have to change their stumble-out-of-the-gate ways. For Cincinnati, the month of April is a must-win situation.

The Reds won’t win the division in April, but they can certainly lose it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “There are 162 games to play.” If you think back on Aprils of the past and the struggle to pull the team out of the holes that were dug, you’ll start to realize how crucial the first month of the season really is.

Just look last year’s slow start, and how difficult it was to get out of that hole. Cincinnati was five games under .500 after the month of August. Skip last year’s lack of April and the Reds have a combined .390 winning percentage over the last five Aprils. You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time the Cincinnati Reds had a winning record during the first month of the season.

Looking at Cincinnati’s first month’s-worth of games, who’s most likely to be the biggest stumbling block for the Reds? The Redlegs face two of the tougher teams in baseball during their second road trip in the first 30 days of the season.

The Reds will make two trips out West with only eight days in between, however, the team’s first road trip is much easier than the second. Prior to the late-April battle with two of the better teams the National League has to offer, the Reds have back-to-back sets with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.

Ending the month with six games versus the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers could make things really messy, especially if Cincinnati has trouble in the first three weeks. The Reds will make a stop over in the Gateway City for their second series with the Cardinals before the team travels back to the West Coast to face the almighty Dodgers.

CBS Sports’ MLB preseason power rankings has the Cardinals ranked 11th and the Dodgers as the best team in baseball. Those six games round out the month of April before the first battle with the Chicago Cubs. But by the end of the second road trip, fans should have a good idea of what this Cincinnati Reds’ season will look like.

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The Reds play 25 games during the month of April, and it’s crucial that the team finish the first month of the season with a winning record. Given that 12 of those 25 games come against opponents who rank in the bottom third of baseball according to CBS Sports, there’s no excuse for Cincinnati to bottom-out early.