Monday, May 5, 2003

Cards come to town atop NL Central

Four-game set 'test' for Reds

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SAN FRANCISCO - Reds manager Bob Boone tried to sell the one-pitch-at-a-time approach to his players. But given the history and the standings, the players know that the four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals that opens tonight at Great American Ball Park is not just your average series.

"It's a good test for us," pitcher Danny Graves said.


Photos of Sunday's game
The Cardinals come to Cincinnati on a seven-game winning streak that has put them atop the National League Central standings. That's where the Cards have been for most of the last three seasons. They finished first or tied for first in the NL Central in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

"They're the best in our division," Graves said. "It's always a challenge when you play them."

Boone maintains the theory that all games are created equally.

"Every series is an important series," Boone said. "You play 162 games and you have to win a certain number to move on."

Thus, his one-pitch-at-a-time theory.

"That's as simple as it gets," Boone said.

The difference is when you're playing the division leader, a loss costs you one game in the standings; a win gets you one game. That's a two-game swing per game.

The Cards are as solid as any NL team. They lead the league in hitting and fielding and are sixth in pitching.

The bullpen, missing injured closer Jason Isringhausen, is suspect with a 4.59 ERA. But that's the only weakness.

John Riedling, who will make his first career start tonight, knows how difficult a task he faces.

"It's a challenge - the first time against that lineup," he said.

The Cardinals series begins a stretch of 13 straight games against Central teams. The Milwaukee Brewers follow the Cards into Cincinnati. Then the Reds go to St. Louis for three and to Milwaukee for three.

Complete results | Photo gallery
Locals hog marathon wins
All runners endure for good causes
Aerni, Veneziano marathon champs
Couple tie knot after race
Veneziano first beats traffic, then the field
Not every winner is new

Middletown sports annual all for charity

Reds come home on a downer
Reds notebook: Lopez to stay in leadoff spot
Cards come to town atop NL Central
Reds vs. Cardinals series preview

NL: Gonzalez comes through for Cubs again
AL: Zito beats Clemens in Cy Young battle
No such thing as tough luck when Clemens loses
Notes from Sunday's games
Buffalo 7, Louisville 2

Simmons' assignment: Improve special teams
New QB to get some rest
Colts pleased with new TE
Cowboys wrap up first minicamp for Parcells

Prep baseball, softball polls and leaders
Monday's schedule

Derby winner's trainer is just a 'modest guy'
Trainer hopes to run Funny Cide into his twilight years
Empire Maker likely will skip Preakness
Frankel will win Triple Crown race soon

College sports notebook
Forrest Gump to Mike Price: Stupid is as stupid does
Eustachy hearing may take weeks

Flesch gets first career win

Flyers need Cechmanek's best vs. Ottawa

Mavericks, Pistons live to play again
Hornets fire Silas after 47-35 season
As Billups goes, so go the Pistons

Nemechek gambles, blunders, and wins

Jim Rome comes to Cincinnati
Rome TV show on ESPN is on tap
Now you too can be a sports agent
Monday's sports on TV, radio

Return to Reds front page...