The Cincinnati Reds are the hottest team in baseball. A dominant road trip has seen the Reds close the gap in the NL Central with series wins over the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, and St. Louis Cardinals.
The odds for the Reds to make the MLB Playoffs has risen dramatically over the past few weeks. Cincinnati, who was given less than puncher's chance to make the postseason prior to the start of the season has a 10.4-percent chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Reference.
But, despite claiming sole possession of second-place in the division behind only the Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds odds of making the playoffs are better than only the Cardinals. That's right, the Chicago Cubs still maintain better odds to make the playoffs in 2023.
Reds playoff odds have increased, but are still inexplicably behind the Cubs.
The Cincinnati Reds sit behind the Pittsburgh Pirates (16.4-percent), Milwaukee Brewers (40.5-percent), and the Chicago Cubs (47.7-percent). Only the St. Louis Cardinals (3.0-percent) are given lower odds to make the 2023 MLB Postseason.
Perhaps starting pitching is what's leading to the lack of faith in Cincinnati's recent surge. The Reds have allowed 356 runs this year while the Cubs have allowed just 303. As baseball fans know all too well, starting pitching is what carries a team through the end of the season and into the playoffs.
It is nearly impossible to be a playoff contender without quality starting pitching. With Graham Ashcraft and Nick Lodolo on the IL, that's definitely been an area of concern for Cincinnati this season.
Strength of schedule may also play a factor. According to Tankathon, the Cubs currently have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule with their upcoming opponents owning a winning percentage of .488. The Reds remaining schedule, however, sports a winning percentage above .500.
The Cincinnati Reds will need to continue to improve in order to make the playoffs. Geting healthy and perhaps adding a few pieces at the trade deadline could help boost the Reds playoff odds as the summer heats up.