The Reds' April schedule will likely determine their season's fate

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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For a franchise that is notorious for starting the season slowly, the schedule makers did the 2022 Cincinnati Reds no favors. Of their first 19 games to open the 2022 campaign, 17 are against teams who competed in last year's National League postseason or were in serious contention. To complicate matters, 11 of those contests are on the road.

The Reds will be in attendance when the Atlanta Braves raise their 2021 World Series banner as they battle the defending champions in a four-game to set to open the season on April 7th. Following their visit to Truist Park, the Redlegs will celebrate their home opener with a brief two-game series versus the Cleveland Guardians, it's still strange to call them that, before heading where many Cincinnati seasons go to die, the West Coast.

The Reds' April schedule includes a trip to the West Coast.

To begin their Southern California swing, the Reds will visit Los Angeles for a four game-set against the Dodgers. As daunting a task as it is to play in Dodger Stadium, the Redlegs accomplished something last year for only the second time in the last nine trip to Chavez Ravine.

Cincinnati took two of three from the Dodgers, Atlanta's opponent in the 2021 NLCS, in the City of Angels en route to splitting the 2021 season series with Los Angeles at three games apiece. If you're looking for a good omen, I have one for you. The last time the Reds and Dodgers met in a four-game set at Dodger Stadium during the 2018 campaign, the Redlegs swept the series.

Following the trip to Los Angeles, the Cincinnati Reds will travel south to Petco Park and battle the San Diego Padres. We can only hope this visit proves to be more fruitful than the Reds' 2021 experience.

San Diego swept a four-game set from the Redlegs last year in their home ballpark, which included a walk-off win to open the series, and a one-run victory in the finale. Additionally, Cincinnati was triumphant just once in seven attempts against the Friars throughout the 2021 campaign.

Don't expect the Padres to have the September meltdown they suffered last season. At one point during the 2021 season, it was assumed the Padres would be one of three NL West clubs, along with the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, competing in October.

On the heels of a 6-19 September, the club parted ways with manager Jayce Tingler replacing him with the excellent and well-respected Bob Melvin. Throughout an 11-year stay in Oakland, Melvin captured two division titles and led the Athletics to the playoffs six times.

After the seven-game stretch in Southern California, the Reds return to the Queen City for their first extended homestand of the new season. Division rival, and 2021 Wild Card participant, the St. Louis Cardinals, will open the homestand at Great American Ball Park.

Last season the Redlegs claimed their first season series victory over the Redbirds since the 2011 campaign. In addition, Cincinnati completed a four-game sweep in St. Louis for the first time in decades.

Closing out the homestand with a three-game set will be the recently seen Padres. Interestingly, the April 28th contest at GABP will be the last time the Redlegs and Friars will see each other during the 2022 season.

The Reds have a lot of question marks heading into 2022.

Saying the Reds have question marks to open this season is being kind. Following Sunday's trade of Sonny Gray to the Minnesota Twins, only Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle are sure bets to start the campaign in the starting rotation. However, many other critical decisions are looming.

The club will use spring training to determine who joins All-Star Jesse Winker in the outfield. Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino, Tyler Naquin, and Nick Senzel will be among the participants competing for a starting role.

Additionally, the Reds will need to commit to someone at shortstop. Does Kyle Farmer, who manned the spot for much of last season following the disastrous Eugenio Suárez experiment, maintain his hold on the position, or will much-heralded prospect, Jose Berraro, be given the opportunity to be Jonathan India's keystone partner?

Projecting the 2022 Reds Opening Day roster 1.0. dark. Next

Cincinnati has not been above .500 after 19 games since the 2017 season and the odds of breaking that dubious streak are not in the Reds' favor this year. However, if the Redlegs can escape April hovering around the .500 mark, it could be a harbinger for an entertaining summer along the Bank of the Ohio River.