A delayed start to the 2020 season will rob the Cincinnati Reds of eight games against division opponents, several of which are against playoff contenders.
It’s anyone’s guess as to how Major League Baseball will handle its postponement of the 2020 season, but for now Opening Day will be delayed by at least two weeks. For the Cincinnati Reds, an abbreviated season may mean the loss of games against the National League Central’s best.
While fans throughout Reds Country feel good about their team’s prospects this coming season, the reality is that Cincinnati hasn’t been to the postseason since 2013, nor have they sniffed a season above .500 since then, a season in which they lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game.
An expensive offseason, one that saw owner Bob Castellini open his wallet, has netted the Reds outfielders Shogo Akiyama and Nick Castellanos, infielder Mike Moustakas and pitcher Wade Miley. On paper, Cincinnati is one of four contenders for the NL Central crown.
But, as the 16-time World Champion Ric Flair used to say, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man. Woo!” So, in order for the Reds to show that they’re ready for the bright lights of October baseball, they’ve got to showcase their talents against the best in the division.
Unfortunately, due to the postponement of at least two weeks-worth of games, Cincinnati will miss out on eight games versus National League Central opponents. The Reds were slated to begin the season against last year’s NL runners-up, the St. Louis Cardinals.
No doubt, St. Louis ace Jack Flaherty would’ve toed the rubber for the Cardinals. Flaherty is an imposing right-hander, and one less game against one of the top contenders for the NL Cy Young is a win for this Reds team. However, the remainder of the Cardinals rotation is not very imposing, with 38-year-old Adam Wainwright likely occupying the role of No. 2 starter.
Cincinnati will also miss a three-game road trip to Pittsburgh. As tightly bunched as the the NL Central is likely to be, the 2020 season may very well be decided by how well opposing teams beat up the cellar-dwelling Pirates. This could be a missed opportunity for the Reds.
Finally, the Reds will also miss a two-game home series against last year’s Wild Card qualifier, the Milwaukee Brewers. Former MVP Christian Yelich, fresh off signing a multi-year contract extension, would’ve paid a visit to a team that he’s historically dominated. Yelich has a career-OPS of .967 against our beloved Redlegs.
So, while Cincinnati will miss eight games against division opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals will be forced to see five fewer games against NL Central foes. The Cards will miss a three-game set with Cincinnati and a two-game road trip to Milwaukee.
Speaking of the Brew Crew, they’ll match the Reds missing eight games against division opponents. The Chicago Cubs will miss nine games against teams in the NL Central, including six against the Pirates. Pittsburgh, who was scheduled to open against the Tampa Bay Rays, will miss nine division-games as well.
There’s still no guarantee that Major League Baseball will return to normal operation after the two-week delay. There’s also no telling whether or not MLB will try to make those games up or just shorten the season. For now, eight of the Reds 76 division games will not be played during the 2020 season.