Before we delve into what will be coming up in September, let’s take a quick glimpse back to August.
The Reds record for the month was 19-11 for a winning percentage of .633. It was the second best month for the Good Guys this season. July would be their best thus far (19-7, .731) in 2012. As we all know, they compiles that 19-11 record without the services of Joey Votto. That, as well as adding to their lead in the NL Central, has afforded the team the luxury of not having Votto quickly rush back after the two procedures performed on his knee.
Many a player has stepped up in Votto’s absence. That’s a long list including the guy to the right.
Now, onward to September…
For some, the month of September brings the start of the college football and NFL seasons. In Cincinnati, sure, you’ll hear chatter about those things, but the success the Reds have tasted in 2012 remains the theme for the city. If you don’t have “Reds Fever”, we are truly worried about you.
So here’s what the month holds in store.
Cincy will face the Pittsburgh Pirates six more times: three at GABP and three at PNC Park. The three at GABP will be the only time between now and Sept. 21 that the Reds will face a team that has a winning record. That’s a 17-game stretch. They have five more games against the Astros, three versus the Chicago Cubs within these 17 games. Their opponent for the series beginning on Sept. 21 is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Here’s one reason why I mention this.
We all know too well that this team stresses winning series. Holding that under advisement, if the Reds were to win all their series between now and that Dodgers series, they would compile a record of 11-6. If this holds, the Reds would see their magic number dwindle from 21 (as it is today) to 10. That is also provided the Bucs and Cards win every game during this time.
Things looking pretty bright, huh?
Another reason I mention the Dodgers series. The last four series of the season see the Reds host those Dodgers followed by the Milwaukee Brewers. If the Brewers continue to play the winning baseball they have as of late, there is a chance the Brew Crew will be sporting a record over .500 upon their visit to GABP. As we sit here today, the Brewers are 63-68. That could translate to the Reds facing four consecutive teams with winning records with LA (home), Milwaukee (home), Pittsburgh (road) and St. Louis (road).
Yes, the Brewers would have to keep on winning at their current pace.
There is more at stake here.
If the Reds desire to own the home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, they will need to keep up their winning ways. Again, taking the “win every series” mantra, the Reds could finish September (and the first three days of October) with a 19-10 record. Added to the current record of 81-52, the Good Guys would end the regular season with an even 100 wins (100-62). The Washington Nationals currently own a record of 80-51 and have a higher winning percentage (.611) that the Reds (.609). They also have two more games to play for the remainder of the season.
So, for the Nats to finish with the same record as the Reds, they must go 20-11 in their remaining 31 games. That’s all Washington would need in order to secure the home field advantage since the won the season series from the Reds (2-5).
When Cincinnati won the division in 2010, they did so with only five more games remaining on their schedule. They had little chance of catching the Phillies for best record in the NL. That year, MLB had that crazy rule in place that the wild card (Atlanta) and division winner from the same division (Philly) could not meet in the NLDS. This year, that rule is no longer in effect.
If the Reds end 2012 with the NL’s best record, they will host the wild card team no matter which division from which that wild card ream would emerge. If they do not, they would face the winner of the NL West, currently the San Francisco Giants who hold a 4.5 game lead over the Dodgers.
Of course, you got to keep playing winning baseball.