by Steve Mancuso

Update on Reds postseason chances

Welcome to your Monday morning check-in on the Reds postseason chances. The club went 3-3 the past week against the Cubs and Cardinals and now has a 21-26 record. The season ends in two weeks, on Sunday, September 27. The Reds have 13 regular season games left, against:

  • vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (4) 14-30
  • vs. Chicago White Sox (3) 30-16 — first place AL Central
  • vs. Milwaukee Brewers (3) 20-24
  • at Minnesota Twins (3) 30-18 — second place AL Central

This afternoon the Reds start an all-but-decisive 10-game home stand with a doubleheader against the Pirates. 

What is the challenge facing David Bell’s club?

Second Place in the NL Central

The Reds can make the postseason by finishing first or second in the NL Central division. As of this morning [standings] the Reds are fourth in the NL Central, 6.5 games behind the first-place Cubs, 2.5 games behind the Cardinals and a half-game behind Milwaukee. The Reds gained a game on St. Louis in the past week. 

While the Reds have 13 games remaining, the Cardinals have to squeeze 18 in the next two weeks. Ten of those are against the Brewers, who will be motivated. Here is the Cardinals remaining schedule:

  • at Milwaukee Brewers (5) 20-24
  • at Pittsburgh Pirates (5) 14-30
  • at Kansas City Royals (3) 20-28
  • vs. Milwaukee Brewers (5) 20-24

Note: The Cardinals have three 5-game series remaining and play the next 13 games on the road. If the Reds finish tied with the Cardinals, St. Louis holds the head-to-head advantage by virtue of winning the season series 6-4. Per the special rules for 2020, no tie-breaking games will be played.

An NL Wild Card Team

The second path for the Reds to reach the postseason is to finish with one of the two best records below the top two teams in each division. As of this morning, the Reds are in competition with five teams for those two wild card slots.  

A week ago the Reds were 2.0 games out of the second Wild Card spot and needed to gain a total of six games against the teams ahead of them. Today, they are still 2.0 games out of qualifying this way and need to gain a total of three games against the Giants, Rockies and Brewers.

The Giants remaining games: 2 at Seattle, 3 at Oakland, 4 vs. Colorado and 3 vs. San Diego.

Yes, I’m Telling You There’s Still a Chance

Last Monday, the Reds had a 20% probability to make the postseason. Today, using the same methodology of averaging projections at FanGraphs (25%) and Baseball-Reference (22.1) that number is 23.5%. 

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.