Well, here I go again........have at it RFS62
But seriously, hear me out:
I have always been of the belief that a good start for a team like the Reds is infintely more important than a good start for more "established" contenders like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, etc....
No sport hammers home the law of averages more so than baseball. You can only avoid having your weaknesses tear you down for so long. Conversely, if you have the guns, you can (usually) only struggle for so long before you hit your stride.
The Yankees can play .500 baseball for three months, and still live the dream that a major turnaround is possible. When a team like the Reds plays .500 ball for three months, it's most likely because they are a .500 team, period.
Let's face it, the back of our rotation is simply not strong enough for us to be a consistent team that wins more than they lose month after month.
Baseball is also a game of streaks, grooves, and luck. Sometimes, a fast start can propel a team to great season, even if they are somewhat ordinary after said start. The 1990 Reds are, of course, a great example a team that rode a hot April throughout an entire season. The 1984 Tigers also started 35-5 and never looked back.
The 1999 Reds are somewhat of an exception. They struggled in April (9-13 I believe?) and then got hot. But just imagine if they'd gone 11-11 in April
There's also a psychological factor at play for a team in the Reds' situation. The fanbase is still a bit jaded, a bit cranky, ready to jump off the bandwagon at the first sign of another subpar season. A hot start may be fool's gold, but that fool's gold can "fool" the fans for an entire season. It can also "fool" the players. Teams that dwindle in the standings have a tendancy to "drift" come mid-season. But if you've managed to keep yourself alive in the standings, the concentration, effort, and energy stay strong.
There is also the "pressure" the FO feels to add talent if the team shows signs early that they can contend.
The Reds play 25 games in April. Let's just say they managed a really hot start to the season, even if a lot of it was luck, smoke and mirrors. Let's say they went 17-8.
That 17-8 could basically propel them for an entire season. 17-8 would allow the Reds to play .500 the rest of the year and still have a very good shot at making the playoffs-- at the very least, it would keep them alive in the race deep into the season.
A 17-8 start also gives the Reds some wiggle room for what is most likely an inevitable stretch of losses. If the Reds mingle at .500 for two months, they will not be able to afford any real spiral of games. But fueled by a fast start, they can handle a couple of bad weeks and still not destroy their season.
Like I said, exceptions abound. But I truly believe that a team in our situation benefits SO much more from a hot April than teams with greater expectations.
I'm not saying anything silly here. I'm not saying the Cubs series is an "important" one, or that our season is lost if we don't win 17 games. Just illustrating something that I believe sometimes gets overlooked in the glare of a 162 game season.
I will say this, it IS the most important April of the 2007 season.
Let's get it started out right! Go Reds!!!!