Friday, August 09, 2002

'Defining moment' ahead for Reds


After Padres, D'backs, Astros and Cards loom on schedule

By John Fay, jfay@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Rockies' Jack Cust is forced out at second as a leaping Reds shortstop, Barry Larkin, relays to first to complete the double play.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        DENVER — Bob Boone is a longtime believer in the one-game-at-a-time philosophy. He avoids looking ahead and looking back.

        But what lies on the horizon for the Reds has gotten Boone's attention. The Reds return home today for a three-game series with the San Diego Padres, the beginning of a 10-game, 11-day homestand.

        After the Padres leave, the competition gets serious: three games with the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by four with Houston, three at Arizona, three at Houston and three at Cinergy with St. Louis.

        “We're going to see where we are over the next 20 to 25 days,” Boone said. “That period is going to be the defining moment for this team.”

        The Reds, after being swept by the Colorado Rockies, must put together a good homestand.

        “We have to put a run together,” third baseman Aaron Boone said. “We're going against some tough teams record-wise, but we've got to start playing better.”

        The Reds have been awful against the elite teams this season, going 18-34 against clubs with records better than .500.

        For Cincinnati to remain in contention, that record must improve.

        “You've got to beat the people you're in a race with,” Bob Boone said.

        The Reds are 5-7 against the Cardinals and 3-7 against the Astros, their Central Division competition, this season.

        Besides the upgrade in competition that's just around the corner, the Reds also are dealing with the calendar — only 49 regular-season games remain.

        “The closer you get to the end, all the game become critical,” Boone said, “because you're running out of time no matter what position you're in.”

        The good news for the Reds? After the Arizona-Houston-St. Louis stretch, the schedule gets considerably easier. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 26, the Reds play only three games against teams with records better than .500 (at St. Louis Sept. 2-4).

       



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Notes from Thursday's games

Kitna relaxed, confident for first start
Bengals, Simmons near common ground
Justin Smith working to improve upon impressive rookie season
Bills' backup tight end battling for roster spot
Bills' revamped O-line faces first test
Browns ban sales of plastic bottles of beer
Jets 16, Steelers 6
Titans beginning to make tough decisions
It's a hazing day of summer for rookie
NFL preseason gets into full swing
Xavier completes women's basketball staff
Masters in demand, ATP chief says
Where are you going? Roddick: Final 8
Hardcourt's best players ready for faceoff
'Mosquito' Ferrero stings Dent in 3 sets
Moya making most of comeback
Schuettler makes fans sit up, pay attention
Tennis Channel to test fans' interest
Delay aside, Switzer happy to enter Hall
Klecko following in father's footsteps
Miami hungers for 2nd No. 1
New Mexico State football player in critical condition
Two-year Purdue starting RB has no lock on spot
Lineup, new format announced for Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
New contract will keep Jurich at U of L through 2016
Back on track, in car and in life
Gordon eyes road course as chance for first win
Prince Andrew to visit U.S. Grand Prix in Indy
Hand surgeon fined, suspended for giving horse Prozac
Third horse dies in Kentucky from West Nile
Tiger 2 strokes back at Buick
Harding sentenced to 10 days in jail
Last chance for UC-OSU tickets
Poll puts St. Xavier on top again


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