The Cincinnati Reds just played the Milwaukee Brewers for the final time in the regular season. Milwaukee took two of the three games in the series. That leaves the Reds 8.5 games back of the Brewers with just 33 games left for Cincinnati. While not impossible, the math makes it virtually impossible for the Reds to catch them. Despite losing the series, though, the Reds are 2.0 games up in the wild card standings on the San Diego Padres and 4.5 games up on the Cardinals.
The math to win the division seems as improbable as the author of this article becoming a movie star. But the math to win a wild card spot is very much in favor of the Reds. Fangraphs currently has their playoff odds at 71.7%, with just a 1.3% chance of winning the division, but a 70.5% chance of taking a wild card spot. Only the Philadelphia Phillies has an easier remaining schedule than the Cincinnati Reds and it’s by the slimmest of margins. Cincinnati also has a 6.0 game lead over the Phillies for that final wild card spot. The Padres – the closest team to the Reds – have the toughest remaining schedule in baseball.
They play the games on the field rather than on paper for a reason. You never know what’s going to happen and sometimes you catch the right team at the wrong time. Look at Arizona, for example. They are 41 games UNDER .500 this season. But if you played them in April, July, or August, you saw a team that was playing .500. The D’Backs also went 8-48 in May and June. Still, Cincinnati’s schedule suggests that their road moving forward to a playoff birth should be easier than most.
Where’s Dauri Moreta?
For just about the entire season the Cincinnati Reds bullpen has been questionable at best. The team has gone through 32 pitchers this season, and 26 of them have been relievers. None of them, however, have been Dauri Moreta.
Early in the year it would have been understandable to not bring him up to the big leagues. He wasn’t on the 40-man roster and he was just beginning to get his feet wet in Double-A Chattanooga. With the minor league season beginning in May, the results on the field were delayed a bit when compared to where the big league club was at in their regular season, too.
But it’s now August 27th and Moreta, a 25-year-old reliever who throws in the mid-90’s and has routinely touched 97 and 98 in the second half of the season, has a 0.81 ERA this year. He last allowed an earned run on July 4th. He’s given up 24 hits and walked just eight batters in 44.1 innings. Oh, and he’s struck out 54 of the 163 hitters he has faced this season. Double oh – he’s had more infield fly balls than line drives allowed this season. Moreta’s been in Triple-A Louisville for nearly two months at this point. And he’s yet to give up an earned run there. His WHIP for the Bats is 0.57 through 17.2 innings.
The question needs to be asked: What is the organization waiting for?