A Central Division rivalry will play out this weekend at Great American Ball Park.
The St. Louis Cardinals are three games better than the Reds with a 39-21 record (.650) after 60 games. The Reds are three games off that pace at 36-21 (.600).
There are 102 games left in the season and there will be 99 left after Sunday, so this is not a make or break series for either team, yet both teams want it badly.
"It is just an exciting series," Dusty Baker said from the Reds' perspective.
The Reds are not frustrated at trailing the Cardinals despite playing .600 baseball.
"It would be (frustrating) if we were 15 games out," Baker said. "We're playing good baseball and it doesn't seem like it. It's a pleasant struggle. If we (including the Pittsburgh Pirates 35-25 and a .583 winning percentage) keep playing .600 ball, there is a good chance that all three of us will be in the playoffs."
The Cardinals feel the same way about the series.
"We have too much respect for the game to put any more emphasis on these games than we do other games," Mike Matheny, the Cardinals second year manager said. "I think our start has set a level of expectations. I don't think we need any more motivation by playing in this series. We are all professionals. When we keep plugging away and see two other teams keep pace, you realize that is going to be one of those seasons. We don't spend all day watching the scoreboard but do we notice it absolutely. It can be dangerous to be distracted by those things because it is outside of our control."