The next series that the Cincinnati Reds play will be in September. The month of the magic number. The return of chilly evening baseball. All is well in the world. Or, at least it is in Cincinnati.
The Reds magic number sits at 24. They’ll either take a 7, 8 or 9 game lead into September. They have the best record in baseball. But for some reason, an aroma of doubt still hangs in the air. Some question the Reds ability to compete with the best of the NL, despite being the best in the NL. Some question the ability for Reds to hit exceptional, top-of-the-line pitching. How quickly we forget. But in a season this long, it’s understandable.
How the Reds stack up against the better teams in baseball:
The Reds are 27-26 against teams at or above .500. Only the Nationals have a better winning percentage in the NL against the .500 and above field. You might not think this is an overwhelming statistic, but compare this to the last Reds team that made the playoffs, a team that was promptly eliminated without winning a single October game – that team was 20-33 against teams at or above .500. This team is far more capable of defeating good teams than the last.
If the season were to end today, and it won’t, the NL playoffs would consist of the Nationals, Braves, Reds, Cardinals and Giants, with the Pirates and Dodgers creeping in the rear.
The Club’s record against the current NL playoff field:
v Nationals (2-7)
v Braves (5-1)
v Cardinals (6-6)
v Giants (4-3)
v Pirates (6-6)
v Dodgers (1-2)
What about the notion that Reds can’t hit good pitching? I submit to you the list of pitchers the Reds have either defeated or stalemated:
I’m sure there are others. The fact of the matter is, this team has faced and defeated some of the best pitchers this game has to offer. When considering the field, you have to like their chances to make something happen this October.