The Cincinnati Reds have turned their season around in the month of June. Winner of eight of their past 11 games, the Reds sit just three games out of the Wild Card and 8.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. While the Reds have risen to the occasion as of late, they still have their work cut out for them as they push forward.
Rounding out June, the Reds will embark on a 10-game road trip that begins in the Windy City against the Chicago Cubs on June 23. After a three-game set in Chicago, the Reds then travel to San Francisco to face the Giants in four games before heading to San Diego to round out the road trip.
For the Reds, this road trip houses a great deal of potential for the 2014 season moving forward — positively and negatively. With a successful road trip, the Reds will position themselves perfectly for the pennant race as the All-Star break arrives. If they falter, however, it’ll be a large uphill battle to redeem their season.
In recent years, the Reds have broken the dreaded West Coast curse that plagued the organization for many years. In order to keep that going, the Reds will need to beat one of the best teams in baseball in the Giants. Already losers of two games in an earlier three-game set in Cincinnati, the Reds will look to rectify their early shortcomings.
With the Padres and Cubs, the Reds face a unique battle. Much has been written about the Reds’ inabilities to eat teams with winning records, yet they have won against teams with winning records (two of them being division leaders) in three of their last four series. These two series will test the Reds’ focus. It is a lot easier to focus on beating a team when you are zeroed in on beating a team statistically better than you.
With the Cubs and Padres, the Reds must ensure they are not trapped by lesser teams — a fault that has plagued the franchise in past years.
For Cincinnati, a winning road trip is a necessity as it would propel the team above a .500 record — the first obstacle in need of overcoming in order for the Reds to make a run at the NL Central. Ideally, a 7-3 record would put them in ideal position going forward. With injuries beginning to take their toll on the rival St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds may be in prime position to advance and make a mid-season push.
The good news for the Reds is that their current success proves what the team can do when healthy and playing successfully (even without a decent bullpen). It also allows the team to hold their own fate in their hands — win and they’re in, even if they are only 40 percent of the way through the season.
With a team as hot as the Reds are right now, the possibilities are becoming endless.