At 72-76 the only question remaining for the 2011 Cincinnati Reds is whether or not they can finish 82-80, above that magical .500 line that defines success and failure. It’s a frustrating realization in a year that many expected would be a continuation of a euphoric 2010 campaign. In the spirit of “Wait til next year!” let’s take a look at the Reds five most intriguing series in 2012.
While the Reds open the 2012 season against the Florida Marlins, their first big test comes in their second series of the season. Monday April 9th through Wednesday April 11th the Reds will tackle their central division nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals, in a matchup of two teams trying to rebound from frustrating 2011 campaigns. How will youngsters like Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco respond to the amped up atmosphere that this rivalry creates?
Note: Unlike previous years, the 2012 season starts on the weekend, and the Reds will not have a break between games 1 and 2. For a complete listing of the schedule, please visit http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=cin#m=4&y=2012.
Immediately following the Cardinals series, the Reds will travel to Washington, DC for their first road series of the season and likely face off against Stephen Strasburg in his 2012 home debut. Strasburg will be looking to re-establish the dominance he showed off in his rookie campaign in 2010. He’s missed most of the 2011 season, but is back and healthy now, and will have the entire offseason to prepare for 2012.
Friday June 8th through Sunday June 10th the Detroit Tigers will visit Cincinnati for the first time since 2001 when the Reds took two out of three games from the Tigers at Cinergy Field. This should be a great matchup between two of the leagues brightest young teams. How will the strikeout-prone bat of Drew Stubbs fare against probable Cy Young winner Justin Verlander?
The dreaded summer west coast trip for the Reds will take place between Thursday June 28th and Sunday July 8th. The Reds will face the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres just before heading into the All-Star break. Will 2012 be the year that the Reds reverse the west coast curse, or will another promising start be sidetracked while the Reds lose momentum heading into the break?
In the heat of August (20th through 23rd) with the pennant on their minds, the Reds will be facing off in a four game series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia. This will be a very important series if the Reds are indeed competitive in 2012. Immediately following this grueling series, the Reds will have to matchup against the Cardinals in a three game home series.