Last team standing, wins.

Tonight begins what some are calling (and we’re one of them) the biggest road trip in the past decade for Cincinnati Reds baseball. It’s hard to believe it has been a full decade since that 1999 summer when the Reds caught some magic and won 99 ballgames, only to lose in game 163 and miss the playoffs. That team could win on the road. The good teams, the teams that get into the playoffs; they handle their business on the road.

Three in Milwaukee (beginning tonight with Johnny Cueto vs. Braden Looper). Four in St. Louis. Return home to play three against the Cubs. This next 10 game stretch; taking place in 10 days, is going to be paramount for the Cincinnati Reds season. They enter play tonight only a game and a half out of first place. They’re getting Brandon Phillips back from his several game absence tonight.

You want some national notoriety? Go 8-2 on this stretch and 6-1 on this road trip. That’s a little much to ask. I think that 4-3 is a lot more likely. But that won’t make a huge statement. Like Jay Bruce said, they want to come back to Cincinnati in first place.

It’s time to find out what this team is made of for real. And it probably won’t be the last time we say that this season. But this is the first giant test for this young team. Just keep it rolling. And we’ll follow it all here. For better or for worse. Remember, last team standing; wins.