It's time for a little perspective. This series could go badly for the Reds, but that doesn't mean it will be a disaster. The fact is, the Cardinals are sending two of the best pitchers in the league out to the mound in the next three games along with one of the best rookie pitchers in the league. After a minor slump, Albert Pujols has been putting up Votto-like numbers over the last 10 games. And Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus has both been having very good seasons. This isn't pessimism. This is reality. The Cardinals are a good team, and Carpenter and Garcia in particular have handled the Reds pretty easily this year. Even though the Reds are playing at home, this is going to be a tough series to win.
Now that I'm done peeing on your parade, the good news. These two teams haven't faced off since June 2nd and in many ways the Reds are a better team than they were at that time. When last these two met, the Reds were 31-23, averaging 5.0 runs scored per game and surrendering 4.6 runs per game. Since then, the Reds have gone 33-25. Their scoring has gone down a bit - 4.8 R/G since that series - but their runs allowed have gone down a lot - 3.6 R/G since June 2. We've seen much improvement from the defense over the last 2 months, which is why the Reds find themselves as serious contenders. Back when we last saw the Cardinals, the Reds were winning a lot of their games by the skin of their teeth. We've seen considerably more blowouts for the Reds since then, which is a good thing. Basically what I'm saying is, the Reds are more "for real" than they were back in June, and I think they believe it. This is going to be a good series.
Perhaps the best thing about this series is that the Reds come in in the driver's seat. One win and they'll finish the series in first place. That's not a bad position to be in. Go Reds!
NL Central Standings