For die-hard Reds’ fan this could easily have been titled, “Bring it on Cards!” But various politicians have used that sort of rhetoric before, and it hasn’t worked very well. And as a die-hard Reds’ fan…a little good karma can’t hurt.

And it’s not a stretch to say that deity Shiva owes the Reds a bit of good karma.

Unless a sadist counts those epic battles with the Pirates for last place in the NL Central, for the Reds this three-game set with the second-place Cards is the most important series since Cincinnati’s one-game, tie-breaker with the Mets back in 1999.

That’s not to say that there wont be bigger series later this season, but the season is winding down and the Reds come home looking like a first place team, playing like a first place team, and being a first place team.

The Reds enter Monday leading the Cards by two games.

Both teams have been back-and-forth in the standings enough to render fans of either team dizzy, and unable to pass a road side drunk driving test while totally sober.

Since trading Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook on deadline day the Cards have gone won half of their six games, and after they ripped eight wins in a row they’re 7-8 in their last 15 games.

The Reds are 9-2 in their last 11 games, fresh off the heels of sweeping the Cubs in Chicago.  The Cubs have been through a lot this season, but before Sunday, giving up a sweep at home was not on that list.

Cards’ skipper, Tony LaRussa has his top-three arms ready to go. 

Chris Carpenter will face Mike Leake on Monday, Jaime Garcia against Johnny Cueto on Tuesday night, and Adam Wainwright versus Bronson Arroyo in the capper on Wednesday afternoon.

Carpenter against Leake is scary for Reds’ fans, and not exactly the kind of matchup the Reds would prefer to start the series.

The next night’s game, Garcia vs. Johnny Jewel, heavily favors the Reds. Garcia, like Leake, is a rookie and, again like Leake, it is starting to show.  For pitchers especially, the grind of a first full season in the bigs is a lot to ask.

The Arroyo/Wainwright afternoon game is the most interesting of the three.  The rubber-armed Arroyo, kicks it up a notch during big games.  And Wainwright has been proven mortal away from St. Louis (where he has gone 11-0).

And, oh yeah, the series will also feature two first basemen who are the best hitters in the National League—no self dialogue allowed—it’s a fact.

For Cards’ fans these types of August series are probably old hat.

For Reds’ faithful, though, it’s been a long time coming and the feeling is electric.



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