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:
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.