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The Next 3 Weeks

Obviously the Reds have played well as of late, and now the team heads into a weekend showdown against the Cards, winner of the series coming out in first place.  This series marks the beginning of a marathon 20 days without an off-day for the team, bookended by two series with the Cards.  The schedule for these 3 weeks is as follows:

3 vs. STL (5/14-5/16)

2 vs. MIL (5/17-5/18)

2 @ ATL (5/19-5/20)

3 @ CLE (5/21-5/23)

4 vs. PIT (5/24-5/27)

3 vs. HOU (5/28-5/30)

3 @ STL (5/31-6/2)

 

In this stretch, 15 of the 20 games are against Central Division opponents.  14 of the 20 are against teams that are, as of today, below .500.  The only winning club the team will face is the Cardinals.  Bullpen management will obviously be an important issue in these weeks, since the team doesn't want to roll into St. Louis at the end of May with a tired and beleaguered bullpen; and the 12 straight games against teams in the MLB's lower half of Runs per game, including 10 straight against 3 of the bottom five, will certainly help that endeavor.  What else does the team need for this upcoming test to be a success?  What qualifies--how many wins, against which teams--as a success?  How do you think the Reds will fare over this period?

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