Friday, August 09, 2002
'Defining moment' ahead for Reds
After Padres, D'backs, Astros and Cards loom on schedule
By John Fay, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cincinnati Enquirer
DENVER Bob Boone is a longtime believer in the one-game-at-a-time philosophy. He avoids looking ahead and looking back.
Rockies' Jack Cust is forced out at second as a leaping Reds shortstop, Barry Larkin, relays to first to complete the double play.
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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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