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Not to Overestimate the Importance of One Road Trip, But...

The Reds have been within a game and a half of first place after May 25th four different times in the 2000s.  In all 4 cases it was a stretch of bad play over a week or two that led to the team falling out of the race and in 3 of those cases, it was a road trip that ultimately did them in.

Year Downfall Period Teams Faced Record in that span
2000 6/5 - 6/18 CHW, @CLE, @SF, @SD 1-11
2002 8/13 - 9/4 ARI, HOU, @ARI, @HOU, STL, MIL, @STL 6-17
2004 6/7 - 6/14 @OAK, @CLE, @PHI 0-7
2006 8/24 - 9/4 @SF, @LAD, @SD 2-9

The reason I bring up these past failures is not to be a Debbie Downer, but to point out that despite it still being early in the season, this road trip is very important.  Obviously their chances won't be shot if they lay a big egg, only the 2002 dismal stretch marked the official end of the Reds chances (they went from 2 GB to 11 GB during that span!).  But this road trip is probably the most important road trip the team has had since the August West Coast debacle in 2006.  It's actually exciting for me to even write that, and I fully expect to write that about every road trip from here on out this season.

The Reds can't let their guard down this week, and I don't think they will.  This is a golden opportunity for them to do some serious damage within the division, but it's also a dangerous trip too.  As we've seen in the past, it doesn't take many games to really hurt your team's chances for the season, and that is even more true when you are playing your main division competitors.

I'm really hoping for a 5-2 trip, but I'd consider anything more than 3 wins a success. Just don't do anything to let either the Cardinals or Brewers get any more space than they already have.