At 26-20, the Cincinnati Reds are at a defining moment in their season. Coming off a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh tonight, and losses in four of their last seven games, the club can go one of two ways. 

Year after year, the Reds get off to a strong start only to fade away once spring turns into summer. 

This year, the team is off to their best start in years, but is only a few losses-in-a-row away from letting the season slip away. 

Still jockeying for position with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, these next few games will be crucial for the Reds in order to maintain their standing among the top of the division. 

In their next eight games, Cincinnati will finish out the homestand against Pittsburgh and Houston before hitting the road for a showdown with the Cardinals. 

The games against Pittsburgh and Houston are crucial because the Pirates and Astros are two of the worst teams in the National League, record wise. It is important to take advantage of easier points against the bottom-feeders. 

The series against St. Louis is important for the obvious reason that it could be a battle for first place in the Central Division. 

These next eight games could go a long way in determining where the Reds will be at the end of the season and though it is early, could begin the process of separating the contenders from the pretenders.

Hold on to your hats.