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:
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.