The Cincinnati Reds have it all in 2013. Great pitching, a power packed lineup and a very strong defense. The Reds are also expected to have little or no resistance in the NL Central.
The Cardinals seem to be the second best team, but with the loss of their ace Chris Carpenter for the season, the Reds became even bigger favorites. In fact, the Reds started off in Vegas at a -150 favorite for winning the division, which means you have to bet more money than you win, unheard of for a futures proposition.
Nevertheless, with all this said the Reds do have a little bit of pressure on them to live up to these great expectations. I believe this pressure falls the most on manager Dusty Baker.
The Reds’ epic collapse in the NLDS last season only maintains a pattern of Dusty Baker’s team failures. Anyone remember the, “Rally Monkey?” The famous idol that propelled the Anaheim Angels to a historic comeback in the World Series was made famous against Dusty Baker’s San Francisco Giants. To win the World Series the Giants only needed eight outs with a five run lead and Baker’s club couldn’t get it done.
Then who could ever forget Steve Bartman and the heartbreaking Chicago Cubs of 2003. This time all Baker’s team needed was four outs with a three run lead and his team choked again giving up eight runs in the last two innings to be eliminated.
Then there was last year Reds’ heartbreak. Cincinnati had three games at home and only had to win one, but they failed to do so and the San Francisco Giants stomped through Baker’s club and went on to win their second World Series in three years. If Dusty Baker hopes to avoid being labeled the biggest collapse manger in history he needs to make sure these 2013 Reds make a deep playoff run and live up to all the hype.
Vinny Carozza is a MLB/Cincinnati Reds writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @VinnyCarozza