Cincinnati Reds will be contenders or pretenders over the next 30 days

ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 04: Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on June 4, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 04: Kyle Farmer #52 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on June 4, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The next 30 days worth of games will be a significant factor in determining if the Cincinnati Reds are really ready to be contenders or if they’re still a year or two away.

Much has been said about the 2019 version of the Cincinnati Reds and the opinions vary wildly as to what the pundits, journalists, and even us bloggers think of the season thus far. Fans have used terms like, “better team overall”, “best last-place team ever”, and “pythagorean top team”. But, the one I’m going to focus on here is, “The Reds can be contenders”.

You can put me in the camp of those who believe that this version of the Reds can actually contend this year. I predicted a team 15 games over .500 for the season based on offseason acquisitions and new manager and staff.

If this Cincinnati Reds team is going to reach a record of 10-15 games over .500 and stay in contention for a Wild Card spot, or even the National League Central, the time to get on a roll is now – top of the division has been scuffling a bit over the last two weeks.

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Over the next month (28 games to be exact), the Cincinnati Reds can play themselves into or out of contention – the worst thing they can do is remain where they’ve been. The entire month of May, the Reds remained 3-7 games under .500 and if you glance at their ‘Last 10’, it seems to always shows 5-5, 4-6, and the like.

Not moving up, not falling back and out of contention, the Reds currently sit 5.5 games back in the NL Central at 28-32. A record of 20-8 or so in the next month would put them at 48-41 and likely in the Top 3 of the division.

My belief is that the Cincinnati Reds need that kind of run to stay out of the “are they buyers or are they sellers” debate that most, particularly the smaller market teams, start to discuss  around the All-Star Break.

With a few hitters coming out of slumps, Joey Votto in particular, an impact bat (Scooter Gennett) looking to rejoin the lineup in a couple weeks, and continued solid pitching, the opportunities will be there.

The downside is a schedule that includes division leaders and good ballclubs – no teams the Reds play over the course of the next 28 games are currently below .500 and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and Chicago Cubs are all division leaders.

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It won’t be easy, but if the Cincinnati Reds are still in the mix by July 8th, then Dick Williams and company have a legitimate team that can contend for the division or a spot in the Wild Card conversation right up until the end.  Yes, maybe I’m an eternal optimist, but many nights I continue to like what I see out of this team.