The Cincinnati Reds have finally clawed their way back to the point where they can assert themselves as a winning team, capable of contending for the NL Central title or at least a wildcard berth.
After a first half of a season marred by a slew of injuries and ineffectiveness at the plate and out of the bullpen, the Reds are on the verge of making believers out of the baseball world once again. Locked in at .500, the Reds will hit the official halfway point of the 2014 season on the road. After an upcoming three-game set against the Chicago Cubs, the Reds will hit the west coast for a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants and three games against the San Diego Padres.
While road trips may never come as easy as homestands, the Reds have to like their chances for this one since the Cubs and the Padres are two of the three worst teams in the NL. A win on Monday night against the Cubs would mark the first time this season the Reds have held a winning record, but that task will be harder with the Cubs’ best trade chip Jeff Samardzija pitching for a future with a much better team.
Regardless of the outcome of the road trip opener, the Reds have to like the way they’ve battled back into relevance. Barring a total disaster on the road, the Reds will be battling for much more than relevance when they return home for an 11-game homestand before the All-Star break.
The Reds’ 2014 season may have looked lost, but an explosion on offense and a return to health may be enough to put the team back on the winning track for good.