Tonight is the beginning of the final series of the year for the Cincinnati Reds. They’ll begin a 3-game series against the first place Minnesota Twins in Minnesota. Currently the Reds are in 3rd place in the National League Central division, a half-game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for second place. Cincinnati is also the current #7 seed in the wild card standings, a half-game ahead of the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Milwaukee Brewers.

For the Reds, there is still work to be done, but they finally control their own destiny. If they win out, they would finish 32-28. Neither the Phillies or Brewers can finish better than 31-29, while the Giants could also finish at 32-28 if they were to win out. The tiebreakers can all be viewed here if you would really like to take a deep dive into how things could play out. Ultimately, the tiebreakers would come down to either head-to-head match ups, intradivisional records, or intradivisonal records over the last 20 intradivisional games.

So, with three days left in the regular season, what are the odds of making the playoffs for all of the teams that are still contending for a playoff spot? Well, let’s take a look and see what the various publications (Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Prospectus, FiveThirtyEight) – who use different methodology – have to say about it:

Team W L FG BR BP 538
Cardinals 28 26 86.9% 75.3% 88.0% 90.0%
Marlins 29 28 90.7% 86.6% 84.4% 93.0%
Reds 29 28 88.1% 82.9% 80.0% 91.0%
Giants 28 28 47.0% 72.6% 67.1% 44.0%
Phillies 28 29 51.0% 52.8% 48.3% 54.0%
Brewers 27 29 33.8% 27.9% 30.3% 26.0%
Mets 26 31 2.2% 1.7% 1.5% 1.0%
Rockies 25 31 0.4% 0.2% 0.4% <1.0%

It’s possible that they could clinch a postseason birth tonight if things go right. The first thing they would need to happen is to win their game against the Twins. They would then also need losses from the Brewers, Phillies, and a double header loss by the Giants to the Padres. Milwaukee plays a double header on Friday as well, facing off against the Cardinals.

In a normal year when teams get to host games, striving for a second place finish instead of a wild card spot would be worth going for and altering, perhaps, the rooting interest in the Cardinals and Brewers series. But with the Major League Baseball playoffs taking place in what MLB is referring to as a bubble at a neutral site, simply getting in is what matters. And while you’ll likely have to play the Dodgers at some point if you want to get where everyone does, avoiding the #8 spot is probably what you’re hoping for as well.

27 Responses

  1. Bob Moore

    Ideally, two wins would probably get us the 6 or 7 (most likely the 7) seed and would result in us missing the Dodgers and Padres for the first two rounds. Neither the Cubs nor the Braves will be excited in the slightest to face the Redlegs in a 3 game series. Giddy Up!

    • Don

      Places 4 to 6 are for 2nd place in divisions. #7 is WC#1 (some division 3rd place).

      For Reds to get #6, the Reds need to pass Cards and have the Marlins be #5.

      • WB

        From ESPN: Wild Card

        Best-of-three. All games at home ballpark of better seed.

      • Mark Moore

        Exactly and +500

        I’ve posted that several times. And #5 plays #4 which is likely a trip to Slam Diego as the highest seeded 2nd place team. Really don’t want to play there or in LA if we can help it.

        #7 is still the better path if things stay stable. Allows us to battle it out between the Braves, Stupid Cubs, and Fishies.

        Clinch tonight and we can all take a little breather!

  2. Don

    Doug listed the “perfect storm” for the Reds today.

    Reds win game against the Twins.
    Brewers lose one of two
    Phillies lose
    Giants are swept.

    Reds would be 30-30 and the best the Phillies, Brewers and Giants can do is 30 wins.

    Reds are locked in to at least #7 spot as Reds own the tiebreakers vs all 3 of them.

    Cards have 29 wins so the worst they will be is 29-29 (500).

    Let the Cards have Division #2 and use Saturday and Sunday to get their pitchers aligned for a WC series starting on Tuesday in Atlanta (assuming Braves win one vs Red Soz and the Cubs do not sweep the White Sox). Bauer, Castillo, Gray on regular or full rest for the possible 3 games.

    Reason for wanting Cards to get DIv #2 is that the Cards then have to fly to the West Coast Sunday night to play the Padres on Tuesday while the Reds fly to Atlanta Sunday night having and have a well rested pitching staff and a no stress weekend.

    This would be the ideal night for the Reds and the Reds fans.

    • Chris

      The playoffs for the NL are in Texas. No one is flying to Atlanta, or the West Coast. Remember, the playoffs are in a “bubble”.

      • Garret

        Wild Card round games are at the home ballpark of better seeded team. Then playoffs move to a bubble.

      • Amarillo

        That’s only for the NLDS and on. Wild card round is at opposing stadium.

      • docproc

        Wild-card round is at higher seed’s home ballpark.

    • docproc

      Just read that the NL wild-card round starts on Wednesday, not Tuesday.

      “The first round runs from Tuesday, Sept. 29, through Friday, Oct. 2. The A.L. games will be played on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the N.L. games will be played on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

      • Amarillo

        Right, so if Bauer pitches Sunday and stays on 3 days rest, that means he pitches game 2 which works out perfectly imo.

  3. Rob

    Article notes the Giants being a factor in our ability to clinch tonight. Don’t understand how this plays in. If Reds win, and Brewers and Phillies each lose a game, don’t the Reds clinch 1 of 2 WC spots? Phil’s and Brewers could do no better than 30 wins and we would have 30 wins with the tiebreaker over both teams? And Marlins ha v tiebreaker over Phils.

  4. seadog

    Today’s pitching matchup is a great example of how good Mahle has been for this team. Berrios is there #2. Mahle started the season as our #6. Yet there stats are very similar. Actually, Mahle May have a slight edge. Realistically Mahle is probably Reds #4 at this point.

  5. docmike

    Just in case not everyone knows, the NL first round does not start until Wednesday. So Castillo can still pitch for the Reds on Saturday and still come back for Game 2 on normal rest Thursday.

    So if we can avoid using Bauer on Sunday, we will be perfectly set up for Bauer – Castillo – Gray for the 3 games. If Bauer does end up pitching on Sunday, then just shuffle Gray into Game 1 and Bauer into game 3. Either way we can use all 3 if need be, but I assume we would all prefer to lead off with our likely CY Young winner.

  6. Lamora

    I’m not sure that getting the No. 8 would be terrible. It’d be a lot easier (not that it’d be easy) beating the Trolleydodgers in a Best-of-3 vs a Best-of-5 or a Best-of-7.

  7. ClevelandRedsFan

    Much prefer the #7 seed. The drop off between the Dodgers and Braves is significant.

    I don’t think this is a WS team, but I’d love to just see a playoff win. Would be the first for a Cincy team since 1995.

    • jim walker

      Well, if the Reds need to bolster their bullpen, there’s a right handed partner for Miley if they can get him on waivers 😉

    • jim walker

      The money probably doesn’t matter to Homer but I’d guess it does to some of the other guys who are being DFAed around MLB. So, how does the payout work in this pandemic year I wonder?

      Normally they’d get the amount left on the face value of their contract. But is it prorated now? And what about a contract extending beyond this year? What’s the payout on future years for a guy released this year?

  8. Andy

    80% sounds great, but I remain scared. The Twins are a better team playing at home. They only have 1g lead in division and may still have incentive to win. Seems to me really good chance Reds win less than 2 of 3. Playoff chances have to be tenuous if they only win one, and near zero if they are swept. Winning tonight would go a long way toward toward easing my fears.