Last night was the culmination of a strong couple of days for the Cincinnati Reds when it came to locking up a spot in the playoffs. On Wednesday night they completed a series win over the Milwaukee Brewers and also saw every team they were competing with for the playoffs lose. An off day on Thursday for Cincinnati saw a few more losses among other contenders. That led to a Friday that meant with things going right, the Reds could clinch a playoff spot. They would need to win in Minnesota, who was 23-5 at home on the year, and need a loss from Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The Reds took care of their end, and the Cardinals and Rays handled the Brewers and Phillies.
It was celebration time. The Cincinnati Reds are back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season. After updating all of the odds and scenarios each day for the last week plus, and the odds all of the last month and a half in the game previews, I can finally type that the Cincinnati Reds playoff odds are 100%. They’re in. Guaranteed.
After a stretch of what felt like uninspired, poor luck, sometimes poor played baseball, the Reds have gone on quite a run of late. They are 10-2 in their last 12 games and 11-3 in the last 14. They’ve won four series in a row, and five of the last six series. When September began, the Reds were 15-20. Then on the first day of the month they got flat out embarrassed and run out of the stadium in a 16-2 loss to the Cardinals, falling to 15-21 on the season. Since then they’ve gone 15-7 and wrapped up a postseason spot. Their seed has not yet been determined – they could still get the 2nd spot in the division, or they will be one of the wild card teams. This weekend will determine how that plays out.
Enough with all of that. Let’s listen to what the players were saying after the game.
“We’re good and we’re better (than the other playoff teams he was on). I like this team much more than I like those teams, and I really like those teams. But I think we’re a (expletive deleted) nightmare. And I think everybody knows that. I can’t wait.”
“We played rough through the first half, first two-thirds of the season and then poured in on the last bit. We’ve got to continue, we’ve got to maintain this momentum. There was some sloppy ball early. Offensively there were some guys carrying to load, but collectively we weren’t doing as well as we expected to. We timed it right, and here we are. We’re in the sort of format that seems really even for everyone. And that’s exactly what we want to be a part of.”
“I’m so happy for our guys, I’m happy for myself. We worked so hard, man. We talked about this for years. We talked about it for years. We talked about it at the beginning, and we said we want to get to the playoffs. Now we’re in. We’ve got to just take it from here. This is a big step for us because a lot of people doubted us man – a lot of people doubted us. It was time for us – we were talking the talk – now it’s time for us to walk the walk. Now that we’re in, it’s time to go man. I truly believe that we have a legitimate shot at this because, like I said, our team’s scary. These last few weeks we’ve put it together and I could not be more proud of these guys, I could NOT be more proud of these guys from the players to the coaches to the front office to everybody behind the scenes. It was a collective team effort. I want to cry right now, but I ain’t going to cry though, because we happy right now. But, there’s so much that has gone into this season with a lot of stuff that’s going on outside of baseball – I know for me, a lot of stuff I’ve dealt with, you know, with this racial justice stuff and it’s like I could focus, but I told my teammates at the beginning ‘I’m here with you guys, but I’m focused on other things outside of baseball’ and I’m just glad we were able to put it together and now we’re in the playoffs. Everybody’s got to respect Cincinnati. That’s all I’ve got to say, respect Cincinnati.”
“You know what’s crazy, in the bullpen we were watching the games, watching the games – I told the guys ‘ hey man, look, let’s not focus even focus on that. Losers focus on winners, winners focus on winning. So we’ve got to focus on this game we’ve got right now, so don’t even pay attention to that. If we just win, everything will work out.’ and that’s just what we did. It was a collective team effort today.”
“I am so happy. I am so happy right now. You guys don’t understand, I am so happy. I want to win it all. I want to give a shout out to the fans – to the real fans that were out there, because there’s a lot of fake fans when you’re going, when you’re losing – there’s a lot of iffy people. So all the real fans, for Cincinnati, we’re doing this for you. Let’s do it. We need to hear you guys every single game we play. So let’s get to it. We’re doing this for ya’ll. Let’s bring it back. Let’s do it. Respect Cincinnati, baby.”
“This is a lot. Not only for me, but I think this is a lot for everybody in the Cincinnati Reds family. We’ve been working so hard for this moment. I think we deserve it so much, and for me especially it’s a lot – it’s a lot. I feel when nobody trusts in you, and you trust in yourself, that a good moment’s coming at some point. Today we did, not only for us, not only for the Cincinnati Reds organization, we did it for all of the city of Cincinnati. We did it, and this is a lot for everybody. For me I’m just so happy. I feel so glad to be a part of this team. Like, we never give up, we fight every game, and today we did it man. We are in the playoffs and I feel like we deserve it. We deserve everything – we did it. We’ve just got to enjoy this because this is just the start. This is just the start and we’ve got to keep going, keep the same energy, keep the same plan, play every game like it’s a playoff, and the goal for us is to bring the championship to Cincinnati. ”
“Never was easy. Like I said, we believe in our team. We know we got a really good team. We got a playoff team, now a playoff team. We’ve got a World Series team. What’s hard is when nobody trusts in you. Nobody thought we could make it, like you said, six games below .500. But like I said, we’ve got a really good team. We’ve worked so hard. We just waited for this moment, to get hot. When you get hot, like I always say – when you get hot, you get hot. And now I feel like we’re in a good spot. We’re good at everything. We put everything together. The goal everyday is winning. We’ve been doing a really good job as a team, as an organization. Today, Cincinnati celebrates this moment. For me, this is my 6th year here in Cincinnati and I feel so good we finally made the playoffs.”
“We definitely had to earn it, that’s for sure. Since ’15 we’ve been grinding, and grinding, and grinding. There’s so many guys on this team that have been grinding for a really long time, and we continued to grind through this season. It wasn’t an easy season. Nothing’s been handed to us, so it just feels that much better knowing that the adversity that we had to push through and just keep moving forward. This shirt (Respect Cincinnati postseason shirts) here means so much to each and every one of us. Postseason, it means everything to us. We want this to be the norm from here on out. It’s awesome. I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s awesome.”
“It’s unbelievable, to not only be going into the postseason, but to be going into the postseason with the momentum we have. We feel like we’ve built the momentum at the right time, and the teams that build momentum going into the playoffs – they’re a dangerous team. So we have a lot to prove, and a team that has a lot to prove is a dangerous team – so we’re excited about it.”
“Just really grateful for all of the work and everything that everyone’s contributed to our team. Just so happy for our players and our staff – everyone throughout the organization. So much work goes into something like this, and even though we continue on this season and have a lot left to accomplish, it’s important to stop and recognize the accomplishment and recognize all of the work that’s been put in and celebrate it a little bit because you don’t get a lot of opportunities like this. You never know, hopefully we have a bunch more of them but you just never know and it’s important to just enjoy every minute of it. I’m just very proud of our team. Like you said, every season every team goes through tests and challenges, and it seemed like we had a lot of them – all teams did – but our team never gave up. It’s easy to say that, but when you live it and watch it happen, it’s pretty special when things aren’t going your way and you just stay after it, after it, after it and continue to believe in it, believe in each other – our players and coaches deserve a ton of credit. Our players, they showed so much toughness. No matter what we would do, we couldn’t get it going, and they just stayed after it. That takes a lot of toughness and they absolutely passed that test. That’s why it’s so much fun to watch the smiles, watch the happiness and celebration. There’s nothing like it in baseball to be able to accomplish something and be able to enjoy it and celebrate.”
“I think the most important thing for us as a team is really continue to stay focused on who we are and playing the way we’re capable of. Really not a lot has changed – you know the results have changed. Obviously we’re playing better and we’re winning more games, but really nothing has changed. Everyone continues to compete and battle and never give up. The results have changed, and with that has come more confidence, and when you’re a confident team and you’re playing today, truly anything is possible. And that’s our focus – yeah, we’re celebrating and enjoying this, but all along, especially the last couple of weeks there’s been that side of it but there’s been a real focus to what we’re doing and that’s not going to change.”