The 2012 Cincinnati Reds won 97 games, most since the Big Red Machine teams of the 70s. But despite winning the Central Division by nine games, they drew the 94-win Giants in the NLDS, falling in five games to the eventual World Champions.

But what if Mat Latos had led the Reds to a Game 5 win and they went on to face the Cardinals team that had just upset the 98-win Nationals?

Strat-O-Matic simulated the Cardinals series to see if the Reds could rewrite history. After taking two of the first three games, including a come-from-behind walkoff win in Game 2 and an extra-inning triumph in Game 3, Cincinnati dropped the final three games.

2012 NLCS Linescores/Summaries appear below. Strat-O-Matic has offered to do additional simulations for Redleg Nation of what-if scenarios involving the Reds. They offered these as possibilities:

  • Big Red Machine stays together two more years ’79, ’80
  • Reds don’t trade Frank Robinson
  • ’81 MLB goes by overall record instead of split season, Reds win division

If you’d like to see the results of any of these simulation ideas, please indicate in the comments. Also, if you have some other scenario not listed above that you’d like to see simulated, please also indicate it in the comments. As we did last year with the simulated 162-game season, the idea that receives the most votes will be the one we submit next to Strat-O-Matic.

Have fun!

Game 1

St. Louis…….   0 0 2   0 2 0   0 0 0 – 4 9 0
Cincinnati…… 0 0 0   0 0 0   0 0 0 – 0 3 0

Lance Lynn tosses a 3-hit shutout, supported by Matt Holliday’s three hits including a home run.

Game 2
St. Louis…….  0 0 0   0 0 0   2 0 1 – 3  7 2
Cincinnati…… 1 0 0   0 0 0   1 0 2 – 4 10 0

Reds rally in the bottom of the ninth on a game-tying double by Drew Stubbs and a winning single by pinch hitter Chris Heisey.

Game 3

Cincinnati…… 0 0 1   0 1 0    1 0 0    1- 4  9 0
St. Louis…….   1 0 0   0 0 0   0 2 0   0 -3 10 0

Jay Bruce’s 10th inning home run off Shelby Miller, the Cardinals’ seventh pitcher of the game, is the tiebreaker in the Reds win.

Game 4

Cincinnati…… 1 0 0  1 0 0  0 1 0   — 3    8  1
St. Louis…….   2 1 2   1 0 1  2 0 X  — 10 17 0

Mike Leake is tagged for five runs in two-plus innings in the laugher to even the series.

Game 5
Cincinnati…… 0 0 0   0 0 0   1 0 0  — 1 2 0
St. Louis…….   0 2 0   0 0 0   0 0 X  — 2 6 0

Lance Lynn makes two early runs stand up, hurling 6 1/3 frames of two-hit ball despite walking six to win his second of the series.

Game 6
St. Louis…….   0 6 0   2 0 0   0 2 0 –  10 16 0
Cincinnati…… 0 0 0   0 0 0   0 0 0 –    0   5  1

A Homer Bailey dud (six runs in 1 1/3) dooms the Reds as the Cardinals move on to the World Series on the strength of 16-hit attack, including four by Allen Craig and three hits, three runs and three RBI by Jon Jay.

28 Responses

    • Melvin

      i vote for this one. 🙂 The Big Dawgy made a BIG difference.

  1. RojoB

    Well, regarding the outcome of the series above—as the old timers say, “I don’t know ‘bout that.” I mean—Lance Lynn dominating? I’d be interested to know that if Strat did this series 5 times over, THEN what would be the outcome? We are talking statistical probabilities, so a single run-through isn’t the best prediction?

    I vote for looking at the 1981 Reds next

    • Mark Moore


      Same for me. That was the biggest “we was robbed” for my money.

  2. Melvin

    Hey Tom. This is cool. Of course I don’t like the Cards beating us. I always thought that if Dusty would have been able to think outside the box and used Chapman with Posey up and the bases loaded in the middle of that last game, we could have won (instead of Posey hitting a GS lol) and gone on to win the World Series. I still remember our Strato season from last year. I mentioned then and would still like to get all the guys who participated and go to a Reds game. In order for everyone to plan ahead maybe we could do it in August or September. Personally I’d like to see any scenario you’d like to post. I’ve always thought the biggest mistake (there were a lot of them) was trading Tony Perez after winning the whole thing in 75 and 76. To me a threepeete would have been likely. Bob Howsman and Sparky both said it was a big mistake and didn’t realize what a leader he was. It’s also always irritated me to say the least that the Reds had the best record in 81 but didn’t make the playoffs. As I recall it was very close both halves. The first half was only separated by 1/2 game I think behind the Dodgers. The Reds were on a big roll and made up a lot of games in a short time. That was a very good team. Thanks for writing this.

    • Reaganspad

      Dusty thinking outside the box is another set of wishes. There are about 30 or 40 of those

  3. LDS

    The big one that has always bugged me – Bowie Kuhn blocking the Vida Blue for Dave Revering trade. The 1978 team rotation with Seaver/Blue would have been a sight to behold. Revering was later traded for Bair who had @ decent year.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I like that one! That’s my vote as well. 🙂

    • Melvin

      Yeah. I don’t really have a memory of that one except that I didn’t understand how it could happen. The only explanation I’ve heard is that it would have made the Reds too good. Imagine if that happened today.

      • RojoB

        I read something to the effect that the Commish hated the A’s owner

    • doofus

      Vida Blue (1978) with SF Giants.
      18-10, 2.79 era, 258 innings, 35 GS, 9 CG, 4 ShO, 171 k’s.

      Tom Seaver (1978)
      16-14, 2.88 era, 260 innings, 36 GS, 8 CG, 1 ShO, 226 k’s.


  4. Rednat

    the 1977 was such an interesting season to me. we traded Perez but Driessen had a really good year. we had Seaver. Foster had a monster year. we dominated the dodgers that year, yet we finished in second place.

    i always felt the 2012 series with the giants was really lost in game 3. we had them on the ropes but couldn’t put them away

    • Melvin

      As I recall, going back to my childhood, Driessen had his best year in 77 and pretty much matched the stats of Perez. He just wasn’t a leader though and didn’t have the intangibles of a winner.

  5. Sliotar

    Excellent stuff, Tom.

    As others have mentioned above … trading Tony Perez is the Reds equivalent of Red Sox trading Babe Ruth.

    Keeping the Big Red Machine together is always going to be of some interest … even to those of us barely born/not born then.

  6. Melvin

    We Reds fans have a luxury in that when we fall on hard times with our current team we can always look back and read about the 75 and 76 team and to a lesser degree the 90 team. It makes us feel better. 🙂 I always encourage people to go back and read the stats of the 76 team. It was unbelievable.

  7. KDJ

    If BP had not TOOTBLANed at third base in the first inning with no outs, the Reds would have won the 2012 series in a sweep. If Cueto had been able to continue in the rotation, you had to like their chances in the upcoming series.

    • RojoB

      +1 on Phillips

      I was at the game and it was my one shot to see greatness. Homer’s HBP scored. What a tight game it ended up being

  8. doofus

    Vida Blue (1978) with SF Giants.
    18-10, 2.79 era, 258 innings, 35 GS, 9 CG, 4 ShO, 171 k’s.

    Tom Seaver (1978)
    16-14, 2.88 era, 260 innings, 36 GS, 8 CG, 1 ShO, 226 k’s.


    • LDS

      And Soto was on his way up. By 79-80, that would have been some kind of starting rotation.

  9. Joseph Menninger

    1. Reds in the postseason in 1999
    2. 1994 Reds in the postseason
    3. Reds don’t trade Christy Mathewson
    4. Reds sign Babe Ruth in 1914
    5. Reds draft Derek Jeter
    6. Reds don’t trade Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson
    7. 1995 What if Reds beat the Braves in the NLCS
    1995 World Series Reds vs. Braves
    8. Reds win the pennant in 1926, 1956, and 1964
    9. Reds don’t trade Tony Perez, aquire Tom Seaver, and Vida Blue

  10. Joseph Menninger

    Jim Maloney healthy, pitching for the Reds in the World Series in the 1970’s and Mario Soto pitching for the Reds in 1990

  11. Tom Mitsoff

    Folks, I’ve tallied the votes, and it looks like the majority wants to see a simulation of the 1977 season with Tony Perez not traded. I will submit that to Strat-O-Matic.

    • Melvin

      Thanks Tom. It will be interesting. Of course if we win the WS in 77 I will totally agree….if not…I won’t. Hahaha

      • Tom Mitsoff

        The thing I remember most about 1977 is how truly horrible the pitching was. I am not expecting a simulation of that season with Tony Perez and without Woody Fryman and Dale Murray to be tremendously different than the actual results. I also let Strat know that Seaver was acquired at the trade deadline in ’77, so they probably shouldn’t have him in the full season simulation — just after the deadline.

      • Melvin

        Yes. That was the year they lost Gullett to the Yankees so the pitching wasn’t as good for sure. Hopefully adding Perez back plus the fact of adding Seaver will make a difference. Simulation doesn’t take in to account intangibles like Perez provided so who knows? That year will be forever remembered as the year the “Great Eight” was broken up. Very sad. 🙂