MLB Playoffs: Reds pitching would provide tough test for this NL contender

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 18: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds heads toward the plate to score. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 18: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds heads toward the plate to score. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Dodgers would not want to see the Reds in Round 1 of the MLB Playoffs.

Ladies and gentleman, it is that time of year. It has been a long time coming, but the Cincinnati Reds are playing meaningful baseball in September. We have waited and waited and the time has come. Sitting at 29-28 with three games remaining, Cincinnati is on the verge on making the postseason for the first time since 2013.

While the No. 6 seed in the playoffs is still a possibility, the worst case scenario would be the Reds grabbing one of the two Wild Card spots. If Cincinnati is locked into the No. 8 seed, they’ll play the best team in the National League; the Los Angeles Dodgers. While it may seem like a David vs. Goliath matchup to some, the Dodgers would not look forward to playing the Reds in October.

Playing against opponents in both the NL and AL West divisions, the Dodgers have seen a lot of star power. Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, Joey Gallo and multiple others.

However, pitching wise, it has been a different story out west. The average ERA of all nine teams Los Angeles has faced this season is 4.82. The lowest being the San Diego Padres with and earned run average of 3.80.

The Padres staff has put together a great year with Dinelson Lamet (2.07 ERA) and Zach Davies (2.69 ERA) leading the way. Chris Paddack hasn’t been exactly what he was expected to be, but adding Mike Clevinger at the deadline definitely helped.

However, when the Dodgers have seen the Padres, they have usually lucked out seeing the back end of San Diego’s rotation in Paddack, Cal Quantrill and Garrett Richards. If the Dodgers and Reds meet up in Round 1 of the MLB Playoffs, the one-two-three punch of Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo will probably be the best pitching the Los Angeles has seen all year.

Castillo has been one of the best pitchers in the league in September, getting his ERA (2.86) back where it belongs. Trevor Bauer is the odds-on favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award, and a fresh-off-the-injured list Sonny Gray should pitch well above his misleading 3.76 ERA.

Tyler Mahle has presented a pleasant surprise and given the rotation some consistency when it was needed most, though he’d likely be coming out of the bullpen during a three-game series versus the Dodgers. Tejay Antone has been a solid addition to the team, whether the rookie is starting or coming out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers have split the first two of a three game series against Oakland this week, winning 7-2, then losing 6-4. Being the first and only time the two teams will meet in the regular season, the A’s 3.64 ERA will be the lowest team ERA Los Angeles has faced all season.

LA was able to touch up the A’s young hurler Franking Montas on Tuesday to the tune of five runs, but were only able to score three times Wednesday against veteran pitcher Sean Manaea who holds a 4.50 ERA.

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Either way you look at it, the Dodgers offer the Reds a great challenge should the two teams matchup in the MLB Playoffs. While many experts, pundits and fans are likely to think Cincinnati will have little to no chance, the Reds electric rotation will keep the Dodgers on their toes.