Cincinnati Reds Report: Next 10 Games Are Critical

Adam CainContributor IMay 28, 2009

CINCINNATI - MARCH 31:  Men dressed as members of the  1869 Red Stockings team pose with a young fan in front of a mural before the Cincinnati Reds game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 31, 2008 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

You are about to read the inaugural edition of Reds Report. I am going to do my best to make this a weekly report on the state of baseball's first team, the Cincinnati Reds.  

So, in the words of my pal Kel Mitchell, "Awww, here it goes!"  

Wednesday, the Redlegs finished off a 6-3 home stand with a sweep of the Houston Astros. Bronson Arroyo delivered a 92-pitch complete game. Arroyo allowed just one earned run off of five hits.  

Jay Bruuuuuuuce made his presence felt by depositing two home runs in the Moon Deck at Great American Ball Park. Bruce has really heated up since the "mental off-day" that Dusty Baker gave him after slipping into an 0-13 slump.  

The one small concern that I have with Bruce, is that he is showing the early symptoms of "Dunners." This is a rare condition where a left-handed hitter either strikes out or bombs a home run in every at-bat. It is treatable through opposite-field hitting, the occasional "beat the shift" bunt, and outfield assists.

Bruce is a much, much, better defender than Adam Dunn, and I know it's way too early in his career to put him in that category. So let's keep our fingers crossed that Bruce's uniform doesn't start showing misspellings like "Natinals."

OK, moving right along, Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips will be back in the lineup Friday barring any other setbacks with his broken finger.  He injured it fielding a ground ball in a game against Cleveland.  

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Speaking of Friday, the Reds will began what is probably the biggest 10-game stretch in the team's last eight years. Cincinnati will start with a seven-game road trip: three at Milwaukee and four in St. Louis. Dusty's boys then come home for a three-game series against the Cubs, which can only mean one thing...

Great American will be filled with beer-guzzling, Sarah Palin-sounding, cheer-leading Cubs fans. I HATE going to games and seeing the north-siders out-number Reds fans 10-1. They sing, they dance, they stand in the way the whole time; it's a disgrace to the Reds. 

It's a disgrace because Red's fans let a rival team come and turn Great American into some kind of Wrigley Field South. Do you think that happens under the Gateway Arch? It doesn't. So why should we let it happen in the Queen City?

Enough ranting and raving about Cubs fans, and back to the Reds.

These next 10 games will tell us quite a bit about this edition of the Redlegs. How they finish against this test will go a long way in determining the N.L. Central winner.  

The Reds ride high and are confident. Jay Bruce said that when the team gets home, they plan on being in first place.  

I say the Reds win six of ten.  They take two from the Brew Crew, split with the Red Birds, and take two from Da Cubbies.  

Until next time ... "Awww, there it went!"