The All-Star break is four weeks away.

The stretch between now and then could easily define the 2013 season for the Reds. As of today, the local team (42-28) stands 2.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (44-25).

The challenges offered the next 28 days could not be more starkly different for the two NL Central rivals.

The Cardinals play 24 games, 12 at home and 12 on the road. They play only six against teams with winning records, three at home against the Texas Rangers and three on the road against the Oakland A’s.

Over the same four weeks, the Reds play 26 games, only 11 at home. Starting with the Pirates tomorrow, the Reds play 16 straight games against teams with winning records – four against Pittsburgh at GABP, then on the road for three vs. first-place Arizona, two against first-place Oakland, three against second-place Texas, and back home for four against the second-place San Francisco Giants (remember how it went the last time the Reds played the Giants in GABP?).

After those 16 games, the Reds face the Seattle Mariners for three games then three more against the Brewers. In the final series before the All-Star break, the Reds head south for a four-game series against first-place Hotlanta.

It should go without saying that anything could happen. The Reds could get white-hot and the Cardinals’ young pitching could begin to show its age.

That said, it’s not hard to imagine the Reds going 12-14 during the next four weeks, although they’d have to improve their record against winning teams to do it. If the Cardinals go 16-8, as we settle in to watch the All Star Game at the Mets’ Citi Field, the Reds would be 7.5 games out of first place.

30 Responses

  1. I-71_Exile

    7.5 out would certainly put a damper on things. Let’s hope for better things out of our Reds and for the Cards to return to earth. Lynn is starting to look shaky for what it’s worth.

  2. Hank Aarons Teammate

    16-8 is a pretty good record even if you play all terrible teams. Obviously anything is possible.

    I really hope 12-14 is something the Reds can do better than.

  3. WedgieSanders

    Negative Nancy! The Reds are going to dominate these next 26 games with no worse than a 16-10 record! The starting rotation is going to carry this team.

    • CI3J


      Par for the course for our local Dr. Doom.

      That said, I pointed out this tough stretch a long time ago and said it would define the season. So now judgement is upon the Reds, and we’ll see what they are made of.

      • Hank Aarons Teammate

        @CI3J: Of course, their July-August streak made their 2012 season, so if they go, say, .500 over the next month, they are just fine. Even if they go below .500.

        “Fine” meaning only that they’ll surely be at least in the wild card race if not leading it. I’d like to see them stay within 4 games or so of the Cards at the ASB, then try to make their move in July-August. We’ll see.

      • TC

        So now judgement is upon the Reds, and we’ll see what they are made of.

        @CI3J: Well, I don’t know. The Cardinals and Pirates have to play these teams as well but I actually I think it’s an advantage to play a hard string like this. I can’t explain why but I’ll try. While the Reds will get used to playing tough teams, these other teams will have to play losing teams before meeting the Reds who are dialed up for this string. Rather than dialing it up and down, the Reds will just stay dialed up.

        Just like how the team dialed it up with Votto went down last year, then dialed it up higher when Phillips joined him, I think the team will dial it up for this stretch.

  4. Greg Dafler

    The Cardinals just lost 2 of 3 to Miami… and the game that they won, they allowed 7 runs.

    The Cards aren’t just going to go away, but I think we will see the Reds pass them before the all star break.

    • Hank Aarons Teammate

      @Greg Dafler: I’d be pretty happy if the Reds stay where they are before the break. This is a tough stretch.

      That said, the Cards optioned out Wacha and now have Westbrook and Lyons both in the rotation. If both stay in for the next month, that’ll help us out. Westbrook is bound to start stinking up the joint, and Lyons already is.

    • OhioJim

      @Greg Dafler: I will be suprised if the Cards or the Reds (or for that matter the Pirates) put together another run like they did the last three weeks of May and first week of June.

      The prize will go to the team that grinds the best and longest. However given the comparative schedules between now and the ASB, I think it is a steep climb for the Reds to overtake the Cards by then given the Cards are three games better off in the loss column and have a game in hand.

  5. dn4192

    What does it matter if we are a divison winner or WC team, as we have seen being a WC team isn’t that bad…

    • Eric the Red

      @dn4192: Being a wildcard these days is completely different than in Days of Yore. It only earns you one playoff game, and in a one game playoff anything can happen. Plus, I wrecks your rotation for the following round. Texas last year is a good example of a team that just missed winning their division, then blew it in one game. I hope we can avoid risking our season on one game.

  6. OhioJim

    Cards have 8 vs the Cubbicles (4 each place) before the ASB but have to face the Rangers (at home) and A’s (on the road) three each over the same period. The bell weather of the sequence for the Cards could be those 3 in Anaheim. And by the way, how do the Cards rate getting one of those 2+2 series with the Astros? Didn’t they already have one with KC?

    • I-71_Exile

      @OhioJim: The Cubs are the Cubs, but they do hate the Cards. If hate can translate into mlb-quality play, then those eight games could help the Reds.

      • TC

        @I-71_Exile: The Cubs are a good team if you take away all the mistakes they make. It’s almost painful to watch. They can hang, then suddenly, collectively, the team takes a mental dump on the field.

        The Cardinals shouldn’t look past Cubs. They can still hurt you.

  7. StealYourBase

    My advice is to start drinking heavily.

  8. OhioJim

    Has anyone heard anything more about Congrani’s status?
    Since Simon went three innings today, I would guess Cingrani is with the Reds and in the pen at least through the Pirates series (unless there is a big secret we don’t know and he makes a start versus the Pirates).

    I would not be surprised to see him remain with Cincy until Broxton or Marshall returns.

    • Steve Mancuso

      @OhioJim: Cingrani warmed up in the bullpen today, which leads me to believe he’ll stick with the Reds — just guessing here — until Sean Marshall returns.

      • Hank Aarons Teammate

        @Steve Mancuso: Marshall will be back in 3 weeks, he hopes. There’s no doubt Cingrani’s in the pen. What else would he do? In terms of when he’ll go back down, it’d be when the sooner of Broxton or Marshall comes back. Of course, both of those guys could conceptually be out quite a while.

  9. SFredsfan

    It’s all about timing as each club hits hot and cold streaks. Yes this streak will be hard but if Bruce, Votto, Phillips and Choo hit who really cares- Reds will win period. Take the bit and run like hell- let’s go Reds!!

  10. Eric the Red

    Sunday was Cingrani’s day to start, so his not pitching the last three innings suggests they’re either saving him to use as a normal reliever or they want him ready for a longer stint vs the Pirates in the next day or two. BTW, is anyone else furious that Chapman was warming up in the 9th? If Simon had given up one lousy run, he’d have come in for the “save”. They keep telling us how much wear and tear warming up puts on the relievers, so maybe warming up Chapman for the POSSIBILITY of pitching for a STATISTIC wasn’t the best idea.

    • RedLeg75

      @Eric the Red: Chappy warmed up 4 times Thursday the 13th, and then pitched Friday the 14th. Did not pitch on the 13th, that was the game where hurt Broxton was the last resort. Can’t use the closer. The closer hasn’t thrown a ball in a game since Friday. I’ve given up figuring any sense when it comes to Baker using Chapman. There is none. 100 mph arm gone to waste because Baker doesn’t know what to do with it. You got your closer, Baker, use him!

      There would be more games to save if you proactively saved them in the 7th and 8th innings instead of waiting for the 9th inning save situation that never comes.

  11. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    I like the challenge of the next couple of weeks. Jay and Zack are hot, BP is BPing, you know Joey is just ready to go nuts, Fraz is on the upswing, Choo is overdue, and I believe the pen will get back on the beam. The real key will be starting pitching and with Cueto back, I’m extremely optimistic about the Reds’ fortunes in the near term. Seems like a perfect time to start making hay against the better clubs and the Cards look primed for a correction.

  12. Larry1980

    I think you could add the 2 weeks after the All star break Pirates and Cardnials each at GAB, sand whiched in between the dreaded west coast trip at SF,LA,and SD. The next 6 weeks will decide the season.

  13. TC

    I noticed this stretch on the calendar a few weeks back. But this string actually started back on May 27th with the series against the Indians. Over the past 20 games, 13 games (4 of 6 series) have been against teams with winning records and their record is 11-9 (with a 6-7 record against winning teams).

  14. WVRedlegs

    Yes, We discussed this back when the Indians series started and again last week. It is an important stretch. But after the AS game, between July 19 and Sept. 5, the Cards and Pirates play 14 or 15 games and the Cards and Reds play 11 more times. Let the Cards and Buccos beat up on each other. Then that is the time for the Reds to open a big ole can of whoopass.