Last night the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers began a 3-game series in Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark. The two teams entered the night tied for third place in the National League Central, a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals, and were also tied for the final wild card spot. The Reds held the tiebreaker over the Brewers in both situations, but a Brewers series win could change that. With both teams sending out stud starting pitchers, it went as expected while Luis Castillo and Brandon Woodruff on the mound – one mistake pitch from each led to a home run and when both of the pitchers were finally out of the game, it was a 2-1 contest with the Reds leading. Cincinnati feasted on the Brewers bullpen, though, and picked up a 6-3 win.

Winning the game on it’s own did wonders for the Reds playoff odds given that it came against another contender. Cincinnati entered the day with a 51.6% chance of making the playoffs according to Fangraphs. They are realistically competing with the Cardinals, Brewers, Marlins, Phillies, and Giants for both a playoff spot and for playoff seeding. The Reds controlled the fate of their game, and as such, the Brewers game. But the rest of the teams all held their own fate in their hands. They all lost.

Let’s take a look back at the playoff odds, via Fangraphs, at the start of the day for each team, and then where they stood at the end of the day for each team:

Team Before Odds After Odds Change
Reds 51.6% 76.9% 25.3%
Cardinals 80.7% 75.5% -5.2%
Brewers 58.8% 51.7% -7.1%
Marlins 83.6% 85.1% 1.5%
Phillies 72.9% 66.8% -6.1%
Giants 43.6% 36.1% -7.5%

The Marlins and the Reds were the only two teams that saw their playoff odds improve among the contenders for the wild card spots. The Marlins, currently in second place in the NL East, gained a small amount given their lead over the Phillies and even though they lost, so did the Phillies which gives them less opportunity to make up ground. The Reds, however, saw their odds go up nearly 50% compared to where they were when the day began.

The Cincinnati Reds are currently 28-27 on the season. That currently places them as the National League’s #7 seed in the playoff race. They are trailing the St. Louis Cardinals in winning percentage, but also don’t hold the tiebreaker over the Cardinals. The Cardinals, at 26-25 have a winning percentage of .5098, while the Reds at 28-27 has a winning percentage of .5091. Cincinnati has five games remaining – two against the Brewers, and then after an off-day on Thursday, they play three games in Minnesota to finish the regular season. If you want to see how all of the scenarios could play out, Jeff Passan had it this morning at ESPN, including what would, or wouldn’t lead to the Cardinals playing two games in Detroit on Monday.

As Ashley Davis wrote this morning: This is fun for Reds fans. But I’ll also add that it’s incredibly stressful if social media has shown me anything in the last 24 hours.

19 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    I still think the Marlins are in at NLE#2 unless they completely collapse and the Phillies go on some kind of magical tear (kind of like we’re doing). Giants are likely on the outside looking in, fogging up the glass.

    Keep ahead of the Brewers (we can do that to a great extent on our own) and then let the Brewers and WLB’s beat each other up over 5 games so one of them limps into the playoffs.

    Don’t read any of this as me saying we’re on Easy Street. We still need to focus on the remaining 5 games and win as many as possible. We’re not out of the thick weeds yet, but I sense we’re seeing some daylight.

    • jim walker

      Agree, pretty much what I said below in as delayed comment that was started then interrupted by events here around the house then finished and then sent without checking what had transpired here in the interim.

      Reds need to just keep winning and let things take care of themselves.

  2. Amarillo

    What would have made it more perfect?

    • Mark Moore

      The entire WLB roster going on the IL???

      Seriously … not much more needed from where I sit.

    • Doug Gray

      In terms of wins and losses, nothing. But having some extra-innings games by opponents that ate up the bullpen wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

      • Amarillo

        I guess that’s fair. It would have also been nice to have Yadier Molina test positive for performance enhancing drugs and/or arrested, the Pirates announcers caught on hot mics, and Bregman making an apology press conference to explain his cheating. But, I’m pretty happy with what we got.

  3. jim walker

    Reds need to just keep winning and not look around at what anyone else is doing.

    Every other team in the hunt has at least a game in hand to them. The other two NL Central teams, Cardinals (2+ potentially 2 more) and Brewers (+2) who play each other 5 more times are of most concern being in the same division and thus impacting the interdivisional tie breaker as well as the divisional 2nd place spot.

    Crazy as it may, seem from viewpoint of simply qualifying for the playoffs, it may well be in the best interest of the Reds to root for the Cards to lose their games with to Royals to then turn around and root for the Cards to beat up on the Brewers. This along with a couple of Reds wins could be enough to get the Reds in.

  4. Matt WI

    Oh my… could you imagine the story line if Homer is up against the Reds with playoffs on the line? Bananas.

    • Gene Kehoe

      wow…and it could happen because I would think the Twins would save Berrios for the playoffs.

  5. Grand Salami

    Passan didn’t dive into this but if the Reds sweep the Brewers (locking in that tie-break, their interdivisional record at 22-18, and guaranteeing now worse than a .500 finish) are they in?

    Say they go on to be swept by the Twins. I guess if the Phillies and Giants go on a tear and the Cardinals handle the Brewers then their is still a scenario to get left out?

    • Matt WI

      Except I hope they score the 6 runs in the first 2 innings. Give Sonny a boost and some room to play in his first game back. Also, better on my nerves.

  6. Johnnie Sparks

    A A or senzel need to b in everyday lineup. Goodwin is a bench player at best. Most ppl aren’t going to agree but if reds win tonight and dnt use T J or mahle. Then I go with T J Mike Lo mahle Sims on Wed. They have been just as good as gray Bauer Castillo. No need to start pitchers on 3 days rest already.

    • Amarillo

      Because of how tiebreakers work, the Brewers game on Wed is significantly more important than the Twins games. If Bauer is ready to on Wed then that is the game we need to go all-in on.

      • Mark Moore

        Yes … as things sit the focus is clearly on beating the Brewers for us. How the Phillies and Giants do is secondary. The WLB’s losing is an added bonus.

        Twins are a few days away and they are already setting things up for their post-season because they are in. They may or may not win the ALC, but right now they have an “x” by their name and that’s a comforting thing. Not all that many teams have that “x” today. And only Oakland has the coveted “y”.

  7. Johnnie Sparks

    Twins just 1.5 behind Sox. I fear war if Bauer pitches wed an loses. Puts alot more pressure on Castillo and Bauer again,do you really want gray on short rest coming off the IL for his second start

  8. Old-school

    Tuesday starting out well. Phils trail Nats 5-1 with 3 outs to go game 1 DH.

    Phils would fall 27-28 and lost 2 consecutive must win games with Wheeler/Nola starting.