By: Nick McGill
As the Cincinnati Reds approach the end of the regular season with just over 30 games remaining, there is still a lot of work to be done to leap frog both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central standings.
The top two teams show no signs of slowing their success on the diamond with the Reds in the rear view mirror at three-and-a-half games behind.
And with Pittsburgh’s trade for outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets yesterday, the Reds might have an even higher hill to climb going into the home stretch. In order for Cincinnati to decrease the gap in the standings it seems essential to play well against their two rivals.
Entering Monday night’s series against the Cardinals, the Reds have 31 games remaining on the schedule, 13 of which are against the top two teams in the NL Central: seven at Great American Ballpark and six on the road. But if you ask any major league player or manager, the big picture is not on their mind.
The Redlegs need to keep playing one game at a time and focus on each individual game.But with seven of the next 10 games against the Cardinals, it is hard for Reds fans not to wonder what the standings will look like after the Reds and Cardinals play their final game against each other this season on Sept. 5.
In recent years the Reds have had everything but success against the Cardinals. This year the Reds are 4-8 against the Cardinals and have yet to win a series. Manager Dusty Baker and his team would love to take advantage of the next few weeks to turn things around and take the next two series against the Redbirds.
Regardless of how the rest of the season unfolds, baseball fans can look forward to an exciting battle in the NL Central for the top spot. Each team is in charge of its own destiny. Win and you’re in. It’s as simple as that. The Reds look to make a late surge to lead the NL Central for the first time since leading the division with a 12-8 record back on April 11.