Cincinnati Reds Versus New York Mets: Do or Die?

Illya HarrellAnalyst IIJuly 10, 2009

CINCINNATI - APRIL 09:  Edwin Encarnacion #28 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into second base ahead of the tag by Alex Cora #3 of the New York Mets during the game at Great American Ball Park on April 9, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

There is no such thing as a "do or die" series or game until a team's magic number is terminated. 

And literally speaking, there is really no such thing as a "do or die" sporting eventwith the possible exception of Colombian soccer.

All that said, there is a potentially huge series taking place this weekend, as the boys from the Cincinnati visit Queens to take on the Mets.

What is at stake?

The "Mo," baby. That huge intangible known as momentum. 

Coming into the weekend, the Mets are one of the most injured team in recent memory. 

From their opening day lineup, which coincidentally was against the Reds, the Mets are missing three All-Stars: leadoff man Jose Reyes, big bopper Carlos Delgado, and Mr. Everything Carlos Beltran.

Cincinnati has been no stranger to injuries this season either. In fact, the Friday night contest will feature Reds' starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo. 

Why he is not on the disabled list is a mystery to many Reds fans.

Arroyo complained of a carpal tunnel-like feeling in his pitching hand a few weeks ago, and judging by his recent outings, he is hurt. 

Last three Arroyo starts: 21 runs in 14 innings pitched.

The good news for the Reds is that their lefty-laden lineup will face two right-handed hurlers in the three game set. The bad news is the lefty they face on Saturday is named Johan Santana.

Santana, who has run into some tough luck lately, will face another Reds pitcher who may or may not be banged up.

Johnny Cueto is coming off of the most disastrous start of his young career. He failed to get out of the first inning and allowed nine earned runs, as the Reds ended the night suffering their worst defeat in team history when they lost to Philadelphia by 21 runs.

Sunday afternoon will see the Mets send righty Mike Pelfrey to the mound to face off against the Reds own hard luck pitcher, Aaron Harang.

The Mets, who are 3-7 in their last 10 games, enter the series four games under .500 and 5.5 games behind the NL East-leading Phillies. 

The Reds, who are 4-6 in their last 10, visit New York two games under .500 and trailing the Cardinals by 4.5 games in the NL Central. 

Both teams enter the weekend having scored a grand total of 29 runs in their last 10 games. 

But despite the lackluster offensive numbers by each team, they both breeze into the final series before the All-Star break within striking distance of their respective division leaders.

If either team can find a way to sweep this series, it would not only be a positive statement, but also one which could provide that mysterious sporting intangible known as momentum heading into the second half of the season.