Reds' schedule offers glimmer of hope with upcoming games against NL Central rivals

Divisional opponents have been missing from the Reds' schedule.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds start to the 2024 season has been absolutely brutal. After beginning the season 14-10, the Reds have collapsed. While the starting pitching has been excellent, the bullpen has been scuffling, and the bats have been virtually nonexistent.

It's been a tough month for Reds fans, as expectations were rather high following the 2023 season that saw Cincinnati win 82 games and nearly make it to the MLB Postseason. Is there any hope left for Reds fans this season?

Actually, yes. The Cincinnati faithful need look no further than the upcoming schedule that is littered with divisional opponents — something they haven't seen all season. The Reds upcoming series against the St. Louis Cardinals will be the team's first NL Central opponent since David Bell's squad faced the Milwaukee Brewers back on April 10th.

The Reds have only played three games against NL Central opponents this season.

Every other team in the National League Central has played at least 10 games against their division rivals. In fact, the division-leading Brewers have played 20 games against NL Central opponents. The Reds have played just three games against teams within their own division, meaning that Cincinnati has the power to flip the script on their struggles this season and get back into the NL Central race.

Monday's game against the Cardinals sets the stage for a schedule that sees the Reds play seven of their next 10 series against division opponents. After the Cardinals pay a visit to Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati is off to the Windy City for a three-game set with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies will turn around less than a week later and descend upon GABP.

The month of June will also see the Reds make stops in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. There's also a three-game visit from the Pittsburgh Pirates included in the upcoming schedule as well.

The best way for the Reds to salvage their disappointing 2024 season is to win series against NL Central competition. Outside of the Brewers, no team in the NL Central has an impressive run differential — suggesting that the division is absent from any truly dominant teams.

The Reds finished 10 games below .500 (21-31) against the NL Central last season with their 3-10 record against the Brewers being a major reason for their losing mark in the division. If the Reds can somehow muster a winning record against their division opponents in the month of June, Cincinnati could find themselves back in the hunt for a spot in the postseason.

No team in the NL Central has had a more difficult strength of schedule through the first two months than the Reds. The Reds haven't had much success outside the NL Central this season — perhaps that will change when the focus shifts to more divisional matchups beginning today with the Cardinals.

More Cincinnati Reds News from Blog Red Machine