With mid June approaching, the Reds sit at 35-27, which far exceeds expectations thus far. First place in the National League Central, 12 come-from-behind wins, a bevy of all star candidates, and phenomenal pitching from Mike Leake are early season highlights.
There is an elephant in the room, however. In a schedule quirk, the Reds have yet to play out west. They would probably prefer to keep it that way, but the drumbeat must go on.
Lets rewind the clock back to 2006. The Reds had been holding down the fort all year, and were right in the thick of things, with a 66-61 record and one game back of first place. All they needed to do was avoid a total collapse on their 10-game west coast trip out to LA, San Diego, and San Francisco, but a collapse is what they got, to the tune of a 2-8 record.
They returned home six games back, with a below .500 record, and never recovered the rest of the year.
The following year, trips to California to face the Padres and Dodgers resulted in a 1-5 record. Later in the year, they earned a four game road split in San Francisco, to finish the California portion of their schedule at 3-7
In 2008, "California Screamin' " continued. 2-5 in Southern Cal, and it was even worse last year. They didn't win a single game in the respective cities, but that was far from being the only NL West city that gave them fits, as they took it on the chin to the tune of 0-4 in Denver.
This year, interleague play takes them out to Oakland and Seattle. Unfamiliar ballparks, far away from home. Obviously, this Reds team seems to be better equipped, but they saw the Cardinals, a good team, struggle out at Dodger Stadium.
The top heavy home schedule is about to change. Most people like California and surrounding areas, but not the Reds. It could hold the key as to whether or not they are relevant come the final months of the season.