Cincinnati Reds: Playoff push still rests with the pitching staff

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 24: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Reds playoff hopes still rest on the shoulders of the pitching staff.

The Cincinnati Reds currently occupy the No. 6 seed in the National League playoff picture. With the Chicago White Sox coming to town and Cincinnati owning just a 0.5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, David Bell’s team cannot change their strategy. The pitching staff has been, and still remains, the key to success and a postseason run.

In terms of OPS, the Reds rank 20th among all 30 MLB teams heading into play on Friday night. Cincinnati’s .212 batting average, however, ranks last in Major League Baseball. This Reds offense is not what we expected following the additions of Shogo Akiyama, Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos.

That said, it’s not as if those three players haven’t contributed this season. Castellanos carried the team through the first few weeks of the season, but has cooled off of late. Moustakas has bounced on and off the injured list, making it difficult to gain consistency at the plate. Akiyama, who struggled mightily to begin the 2020 season, is hitting .359 in his last 15 games.

But, where the Reds offense has struggled, the pitching staff has succeeded. The starting trio of Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo kept this team afloat while the hitting was coming along, and though there looks to be improvement among the Cincinnati bats, it’s still up to the Reds pitchers to help push this team into the postseason.

In addition to the success of the three-headed monster that is Gray, Bauer and Castillo, Tyler Mahle has been quite successful in 2020. Thought to be part of the Louisville Bats starting rotation before the season began, Mahle has asserted himself as a solid piece of this rotation, and may hold the key to success down the stretch.

While the bullpen looked to be the team’s Achilles heel during the early going, Cincinnati’s relief corp has put together some solid numbers of late. Archie Bradley has put up nothing but zeroes during his time with the Reds. Lucas Sims, Amir Garrett and even, yes, Raisel Iglesias have been solid as well.

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While the recent winning streak is something to behold, it’s been the Cincinnati Reds pitching, not hitting that have gotten them into postseason contention. If Cincinnati hopes to make it to the playoffs from the first time since 2013, it’ll be on the arms of the Reds hurlers. But, a few hits would be nice.