The Cincinnati Reds are having an extremely fun 2021 season, and they’re hoping to make it even more memorable by cracking the playoffs.
Currently, Cincinnati is 64-55 on the year.
The club is enjoying a strong August (9-5 record thus far) and an even stronger summer (40-27 record since the beginning of June).
It looked like the Reds were dead in the water after the first couple months of the season, but they’re more than alive today.
For Cincy, the focus should be on catching the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card race.
While the National League East division isn’t technically a done deal yet, the Milwaukee Brewers are firmly in control with an eight-game lead.
For that reason, a Wild Card bid is the most viable option for the Reds at this point.
Let’s evaluate their chances.
Reds Currently 2.5 Games Back Of Padres In Wild Card Race
As it stands now, two-and-a-half games separate the Padres and Reds in the Wild Card race.
Reds are 2.5 back from the wildcard spot pic.twitter.com/YQdilqqvfG
— Cincinnati Clothing Co. (@CINClothingCo) August 14, 2021
The Los Angeles Dodgers hold the first Wild Card spot by a pretty big margin, and the Padres are clinging to the second Wild Card bid for dear life.
It’s essentially a two-team contest between San Diego and Cincinnati for the final Wild Card bid in the NL.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets are still technically alive in the race, but those teams are less likely to become a factor.
Evaluating The Remaining Schedules Of The Reds And Padres
Let’s put it this way: If the Reds don’t make the playoffs, they will only have themselves to blame.
Well, the Reds have the second-easiest remaining schedule in all of baseball, and the Padres have the toughest remaining schedule in all of baseball.
The two teams are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in that regard.
The Reds’ remaining slate features countless matchups with tanking teams.
They have 14 series left, and only three are against contending clubs.
That will give them plenty of opportunities to string wins together.
Meanwhile, there is no one in the league with a more grueling slate the rest of the way than San Diego.
Their remaining schedule features three series with the Dodgers, three series with the San Francisco Giants, a series with the Houston Astros, a series with the Phillies, and a series with the Atlanta Braves.
All of those teams have playoff aspirations.
The Padres would do well just go to .500 in those games.
Things certainly look to be in Cincinnati’s favor.
Reds’ Big 3 Hoping To Carry The Team To The Promised Land
Whether or not the Reds make the playoffs, it’s a safe bet that the outcome of their season will have a lot to do with the performance of the team’s Big 3: Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and Joey Votto.
The trio has been elite for Cincinnati all season.
Take a look at their numbers:
- Castellanos is batting .316 with a .940 OPS, 20 home runs, 30 doubles, and a triple.
- Winker is batting .309 with a .959 OPS, 24 home runs, 32 doubles, and a triple.
- Votto is batting .282 with a .954 OPS, 26 home runs, 15 doubles, and a triple.
Joey Votto joins Frank Robinson (1962) as the only @Reds players to hit 14 HR in a 20-game span.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August 12, 2021
All three of those players could end up receiving MVP votes.
Very few teams in baseball can say that they have a three-headed monster like that.
The Reds are certainly grateful that they can.