Reds: Despite six straight series defeats, Cincinnati is still contending

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds leaves the field. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds leaves the field. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images) /

Baseball is a strange game, isn’t it? The Cincinnati Reds have lost six consecutive series, winning only six of their last 18 games. However, the Redlegs are still locked in a battle for the final NL Wild Card spot and have nine game against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates over the next few weeks.

As Reds fans, you have every right to be frustrated. But if we’re up in arms, I can only imagine how the clubhouse feels. Had Cincinnati won just eight of those 18 games, the Reds would be two games up on the San Diego Padres in the hunt for that elusive spot in the postseason.

It’s almost as if no one wants to lay claim to that fifth and final spot in the National League playoff picture. While Cincy has lost two series to the St. Louis Cardinals during the last couple weeks, the Redbirds are just 5-5 in their last 10 games.

The Padres just got swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers and are 4-6 over their last 10 contests. The Friars do not face a team with a sub-.500 record over the final few weeks of the season. Even the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the easiest schedule remaining, dropped 3-of-4 to the Colorado Rockies over the weekend and are 3-7 over their last 10 games.

The Reds are still tied for the final Wild Card spot in the NL.

The Cincinnati Reds have not played well over the last few weeks, but despite their struggles, the team is still pretty. The Redlegs have a 59.2% chance to make the postseason, the highest among the Wild Card contenders, according to Baseball Reference. In fact, the Cardinals are now viewed as the Reds’ primary competition for the final spot in the National League.

FanGraphs doesn’t paint such a rosy picture for Cincinnati, giving the Reds just a 39.8% chance to secure that elusive spot in the postseason. The Padres come in a close second with a 36.5% chance to make the playoffs.

At the end of the day, these predictions are just that. The Redlegs need to power through this final stretch of the 2021 season, realize that they have an opportunity squarely within their grasp, and seize it by the throat.

Despite dropping six straight series, the Cincinnati Reds are in the catbird’s seat. With nine games remaining against the Pittsburgh Pirates, David Bell’s club has a great opportunity to put some distance between them and the other contenders.

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The Cardinals and Padres clash in the coming weeks and the Milwaukee Brewers battle the St. Louis Cardinals seven times over the final weeks of the 2021 season. The Padres have 10 games left against the best team in the NL, the San Francisco Giants. It’s going to be a sprint to the finish, and the Reds must take care of business.