The Cincinnati Reds will be anxious onlookers during tonight broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball between the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Before the games get underway on Sunday afternoon, the Cubs hold a half-game lead over both the Reds and D-backs for the second NL Wild Card spot. If the playoffs began today, because of their head-to-head record against Arizona, Cincinnati would be in the playoffs.
While it's always easy for Reds fans to root against the Cubs, tonight's game carries some extra weight. If the Reds are able to sweep the New York Mets this afternoon, Cincinnati could vault into the second spot in the NL Wild Card chase.
Why Reds fans should be rooting for the Diamondbacks during Sunday Night Baseball.
The Cincinnati Reds have the good fortune of owning a winning record against both the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. Based on the new tiebreaker rules, the Reds would get into the playoffs over both the Cubbies and the D-backs.
If the Reds pull off the victory over the Mets this afternoon at Citi Field and the D-backs defeat the Cubs, Cincinnati would be sitting in the second NL Wild Card spot and Arizona would occupy the final spot in the race for the postseason.
NL Wild Card Race
San Francisco Giants
If the Reds were to secure the second NL Wild Card spot rather than the third, they'd have a matchup against the Philadephia Phillies in the Wild Card Series instead of a date with the Milwaukee Brewers.
This season, Cincinnati is a respectable 3-4 versus the Phillies, but a horrific 3-10 against the Brew Crew. Furthermore, it's quite likely that Milwaukee will send the trio of Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes to the hill in the opening round of the playoffs. That's not a good matchup at all for the Reds.
If Cincinnati were to secure the second NL Wild Card spot, the Reds would likely face a Phillies rotation of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Taijuan Walker. While both potential matchups persent problems for the Reds, Cincinnati's batters would probably prefer their chances against the reigning National League Champions.
Of course, after Sunday, there's still plenty of baseball left to be played. In fact, if the Miami Marlins defeat the Atlanta Braves on Sunday and both the Reds and Cubs lose, then Skip Schumakers club will vault into the final NL Wild Card spot and leave both Cincinnati and Chicago on the outside looking in.