The Cincinnati Reds are 77-72, smashing any and all expectations and prognostications from before the season began. The club was coming off of a 100-loss season and did next to nothing in the offseason to add. Instead, the plan seemed to be a bit of a wait-and-see approach with how the upper minor leaguers performed and go from there. It wasn’t long until those guys began to appear and make a difference.

Last night saw the Reds take game one of a 3-game series in New York against the Mets. Meet the Mets, greet the Mets, come on out and beat the Mets. I think that’s how the song goes.

The victory, combined with the rest of the outcomes around Major League Baseball on the day, put the Cincinnati Reds into a tie for the final wild card spot with Arizona, a half-game up on Miami, and a full game up on San Francisco. The Reds own the tie-breaker over Arizona if the two teams wind up being tied at the end of the season. Cincinnati does not have the tie-breaker over the Marlins or the Giants.

Cincinnati has 13 games remaining, with the regular season coming to an end on October 1st against the St. Louis Cardinals. After finishing up their series with the Mets, the Reds host the Twins and Pirates in a set of 3-game series before traveling to Cleveland for a 2-game set. They’ll then close out the year in St. Louis with three games.

While it doesn’t feel like 13 games is a lot – and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not – there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played. But every game matters more each day because there’s less time to make up for a loss.

As the games begin today, Fangraphs has the Reds with a 32.3% chance of making the playoffs. That is fourth best among the wild card teams. Philadelphia, who is 80-67, has the best odds at 98.4%. The Cubs, who are 1.5 games up on the Reds and Diamondbacks, have a 72.9% chance. Arizona, despite not having the tie-breaker with Cincinnati, has better odds – coming in at 37.1%. San Francisco is at 31.3% and Miami is at 27.9%. Essentially, the odds say that Arizona, Cincinnati, Miami, and San Francisco are all around that one-in-three odds range of grabbing a spot.

66 Responses

  1. RedBB

    Fangraphs always has our chances the lowest. Baseball reference has us at 46.9%, 47%. I tend t believe Fangraphs though (actually is too high IMO) as this pitching staff is just too young and inexperienced and lack the ability to go deep in games save Ashcraft who is injured and nowhere to be found. Our bullpen is getting decimated even in winning games. That hurts your chances the next day. Like today for instance, I don’t love our chances since the entire backend of the BP had to be used to save Greene last night.

    • Jim Walker

      Tony Santillan had another shutout 1 inning save last night at AAA. He had 3Ks but allowed a couple of hits. Doug recently highlighted TS had a streak of 4 scoreless 1 inning appearances prior to last night with just 1BB and 6Ks in those 4 appearances. He is throwing at the 97mph range with control.

      He is off the 40 man roster and would require a double move to bring back to MLB; but, with the way he is finishing the year at just age 24, they’d probably put him on the off season 40 man roster anyway,

      • Jim Walker

        The Reds are currently carrying 15 position players and 13 pitchers. With the September 28 man active roster limit, they are permitted to have 14 pitchers. Thus Santillan or another pitcher could be added without moving a pitcher off the active roster; but, they would have to IL or drop a position guy.

  2. Mark Moore

    Just so I understand, we own the tiebreaker with the Snakes? Nothing changes that unless there is no tie?

    • Doug Gray

      If it’s just those two who are tied, yes, because the first tiebreaker is head-to-head.

      • ptaylor2112

        “…the first tiebreaker is head-to-head.”

        This is great, because the second tiebreaker is cheek to cheek.

    • RedBB

      We own the tiebreak with Arizona an Chicago. SF owns it vs us. Marlins and us are tied but they will likely get in because of a far better Intradivision record.

  3. Rednat

    Thanks for the laugh Doug. “Come on out and beat the Mets”! Yes!

  4. LDS

    Unfortunately, according to the Athletic yesterday, SF has all the tie breakers at the moment. The Reds really hurt themselves with their intra-division record. That said, I’d like to finish ahead of the Cubs, just for the fun of it, regardless of whether it leads to a playoff spot. Probably won’t happen, any more than running off another 12+ game winning streak. Greene had a pretty good game last night, until that one pitch, which many of us saw coming. With 2 outs, I’m not sure that an IBB or at least a nibbling BB wouldn’t have been a better strategy. But that’s on Bell not Greene. Just win the next two against the Mets.

    • greenmtred

      Greene, of course, threw the pitch.

  5. SR

    I haven’t seen any update on Ashcroft’s timeline to return. Did I miss it somewhere? It’s been two weeks. I would hope they would have an idea if he’s going to throw this year by this time.

  6. Randy in Chatt

    The D-Backs have a pretty rough road ahead playing the Cubs, Giants, Astros, heck even the Yankees and White Sox on the road won’t be a cake walk. Don’t see why the prognosticators are sold on Arizona’s chances over the Reds.

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe because the Reds intradivisional record sucks and 6 of their remaining games are intradivisional games?

      Reds have 3 at home with Pirates and 3 in St. Louis. The Reds are currently 4-6 vs. Pirates and 5-5 vs. Cardinals.

  7. Randy in Chatt

    Heck, the Giants have 7 games against the Dodgers, 2 against the D-Backs and 3 against the Padres (who’d love to smack the D-Backs out of the playoffs–spoiler alert?). They also have a rough road trip with 7 games on the road vs. the D-Backs and Dodgers upcoming.

  8. Indy Red Man

    ESPN has the Reds at 32.9 and Baseball Reference has 46.9. The Cubs have stumbled there way back to the pack so now 2 spots look available. I like our chances, but every time we get 5-6 over .500 then we lose 3 straight. It’s going to take atleast 84-85 wins at a minimum

  9. West Larry

    Lineups out. Both Ces and Elle in the lineup, NO Marte. I guess he needed a rest after all those hits yesterday?

    • Rick

      Bell juggling around Votto since Fraley has the DH spot tied up vs righties. So, set a hot hitter, about the norm.

      • Ted Alfred

        I never seen a manager who consistently sits his hottest hitters over and over. As soon as you start to warm up don’t worry… you’re about to be sitting and that good feeling you had at the plate will be gone in no time

  10. West Larry

    Chris – please explaiiiin Bell’s logic for not starting MArte today.

    • Chris

      Simple answer. Who knows? Why hasn’t CES one of the hottest hitters on the team never playing? Why is Renfroe playing so much? Not sure why you are asking me that question?

      • Ted Alfred

        Yeah the whole CES Renfro thing is truly mind-boggling

  11. AllTheHype

    Friedl 4th again, and a guy who has never had a SB in his ML career (150+ games) batting 2nd. Guess if he’s on there’s no possibility of double steal or hit and run.

    With all the speed this team possesses on the basepaths, it’s just odd to have your slowest runner batting 2nd, and the guy with a foot injury leading off. And yes, Martini is quite possibly slower than Maile.

    • David

      Yeah, it would make more sense to bat Freidl 2nd and Martini 4th.
      And once again, he’s got India batting third (why not Fraley batting 3rd?) and not batting lead-off, where he seems to thrive.
      India, Friedl, Fraley (DH) and Martini.

      And Benson batting 9th, and no Spencer Steer (who leads the team in HR and RBI’s) but Joey Votto (batting a lusty 0.199) is playing first.

      Yeah….Bell. (rolls eyes)

      • Chris

        It would make sense to NOT start Martini, and at the very least have him hit way down in the order. So he hit a couple of big HR’s. They guy is barely hitting .200 over the last couple of weeks. Then again Renfro is hitting .150 and he bats cleanup so who knows?

      • Rick

        India needs back at leadoff.
        I can’t realign Bell’s lineup w/o Steer & Marte in it.
        They can rest thru the winter. But handedness trumps out talent.
        He’ll platoon them out in the 6th inning & won’t have pinch hitters late, except for Stephenson.
        Hope it works out and we secure the series.

      • greenmtred

        India batted leadoff last night. 1 for 5, 3 strikeouts. Hit a big homer and that works in the 3 slot.

      • Ted Alfred

        It has to be an ego thing with Bell. He mustvliterally think he is smarter than everybody else and “he knows things” that you don’t know and therefore there is a method to the madness. It’s just total nonsense… there’s no reason to not have India leading off the rest of the year, along with Renfroe playing over CES…Friedl 4th instead of Martini and on and on it goes.

    • West Larry

      I’d like to see Votto, Maile and Martini in a foot race, I think Stevenson smokes them in a race.

  12. old-school

    Interesting looking at Reds handedness performance as Handedness is one of the more controversial issues on RLN and how Bell employs it. Everyone wants a hitter who can hit well against either hand. Fact is, most cant, especially lefties against lefties. But, most righties have a lower OPS+ against righties compared to lefties as well so the question then becomes does the greatness against one side outweigh the bad from the other and understanding you have to have good lefty hitters against power righties since 73+% of pitchers are righties.

    There are (2) regular players on the Reds that defy the expected handedness differentials and thats perhaps where the reds may want start in balancing an offense and having an everyday 6-7 instead of an everyday 2.

    Players who defy handedness:
    1.) TJ Friedl- his numbers against lefties are staggering and his number against righties are average. Hes a good defender, leads the team in fWAR and is an elite bunter. Hes a core player

    2.) Jon India -he hits better against righties. Career wRC+ is 109 against righties. Hes below avg against lefties but having a righty who hits righties well is important.

    Players who hit well both:

    1.) Matt Mclain- outta this world against lefties and good against righties- core player
    2.) Spence Steer- obliterates lefties and ok against righties-core player

    Players with absurd handedness differential:
    1.) Fraley- elite against righties and poor against lefties. Hes an elite hitter -core player to a balanced offense
    2.) Elly-decent hitter against righties, Horrific against lefties. 41%k rate, 3% BB. No one is giving up on Elly at 21, but his righty numbers are dismal.
    3.) Benson-as bad as Fraley and Elly are against lefties, Benson is the worst. Because he s a on the strong side of the platoon, he has a role.

    Stephenson hits lefties well, but injuries make it hard to judge. Prior tho this year, he hit both well. Marte and CES are too early to tell, but the initial numbers suggest Marte may be in the promised land of hitting both well.

    As the last 13 games play out, I suspect handedness will dominate the line up construction with McLain- the best 2 way hitter on the team- not available. I dont see Fraley, Elly or benson playing against lefties and thats why you see Bader, Senzel, and Renfroe.

    • AllTheHype

      I don’t have a problem with the handedness lineups in general, although tonight the oddity is Martini in the 2.

      But the main problem with seeing Bader, Senzel, and Renfroe against LHP is that CES has to sit, as he did last night.

      Bell is playing vets (Bader, Renfroe, or Votto) over CES. He’s the odd man out.

      Bottom line, I liked the handedness lineups before Votto was activated, and before we acquired Bader and Renfroe. Now Bell is overpaying all three of them at the expense of hot young bats like Marte and CES.

    • MBS

      My only problem with the pigeonholing young Lefties as platoon only players is it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You got to let the kids get the experience vs their weakness.

      Will Benson only had 1 good minor league season, and that was last year.

      VS RHP 244 AB’s .287/.437/.566
      VS LHP 72 AB’s .250/.386/.375

      I’d take that production from a LHB vs LHP any day. The Reds employing a handedness strategy is robbing him of actually developing.

      • AllTheHype

        Agree completely with Benson. While I think he should sit some vs LHP, he also gotten more opportunities along the way this year. The book is not written on him. The book may be written on Fraley, however, to some extent.

    • Ted Alfred

      Hardly any CES, but plenty of Bader and Renfroe….yadayadayada. it’s just Bell

  13. Roger Garrett

    No Ty Steve nor Marte nor Steer.Not our best hitting lineup nor defensive lineup and for sure our slowest and I mean slowest lineup.WOW

    • old-school

      Ty Steve in 5 hole unless something changed. Votto is always going to block Marte or CES. They are giving Steer a day off because its his turn to let others play. Same with Marte.

      Votto is going to play but this is exactly why he cant be on the roster next year. CES/Marte/Steer all deserve to play. There will always be a player dinged up or rotationally needing rest that still adds value with their bat at DH. Fraley is that guy now but who knows over the course of 162 games who that will be in which month.

      • Roger Garrett

        Missed that cause when I looked in was CES in the 5 hole and Maile catching in the 9 spot.

      • Old-school

        Maile scratched with a wrist contusion I think, so he was in the original lineup.

  14. LDS

    Given his inclinations, Bell will turn EDLC into a platoon player instead of sending him down for some focused practice. As others have noted Votto can’t be the roster next year. As for Marte? Bell routinely sits a guy after an outstanding game. He planned it years in advance. He just knows.

    • greenmtred

      I’m curious about the stats on a player’s performance the game following a multi-hit game. I wouldn’t know where to begin to look. I’ve posed the question before, since some of you guys are always outraged when Bell sits a guy after a good game, but nobody took up the challenge. I’m not interested in anecdotal “evidence” because it isn’t evidence.

      • Chris

        Maybe you should take up the challenge. Yeah, have fun looking that stat up and gathering enough sample data to make a case in point. Why would anyone else do this home work for you? LOL

      • LDS

        You don’t have to look too far. No reason to research the obvious

      • Old-school

        @GMR, Ive dealt with this personally coaching a son at a high level and streaks are real and confidence is real and seeing the ball well is real and repetition and being healthy is real….So, yeah….if you are healthy and seeing it well and raking… on. The opposite stinks. Hitting is so hard so if you are on a roll…dont stop it.

      • greenmtred

        I don’t have to take up the challenge. You guys are the ones making a big deal out of it. In general, I’m in awe of the wisdom on display here regarding lineup construction and game strategy, given that you have very little relevant information on which to base your opinions. Is it possible that you guys are studying sheep entrails (where? In your basements? Do your families know?) to find auguries and portents? There’s probably a story here, but somebody needs to tell it….

      • greenmtred

        LDS: What a disappointingly lazy response. There’s nothing obvious about it at all. Either there’s a correlation between a multi-hit game and a multi-hit game on the following day or there isn’t. But you construct this grievance without documenting the basis for it.

      • greenmtred

        I’m not doubting you, Old-school. I’m not even saying that streaks aren’t real. What I am saying is that people–and I assume that we fall into this category–have selective memories; we will tend to remember a hitter who goes on a tear and runs up a good streak. but will forget all of the guys who follow a 3 for 4 day with an 0fer. So I was suggesting that it would be interesting to see if anybody had studied this and acknowledging that my rudimentary computer skills probably aren’t up to it. I expected–and got–snotty responses to this (not from you), and suppose that those are evidence of unwillingness to consider that cherished beliefs–like batting order and sac bunting– about the game may not withstand scrutiny.

    • ChrisInVenice

      When did managers start deciding when players get sent down?

    • Melvin

      SSSSSSS That’s the sound of a manger we all know pouring cold water on a hot hitter….AGAIN. 😀

  15. RedAlert

    Marte should not be sitting for De La Cruz at this point period ! Stupid lineup decision …. He shouldn’t be sitting for anybody period

    • RedAlert

      Didn’t even notice that Steer is also sitting … that’s even worse !!!! Bell has lost his mind…

  16. Pharmer85

    Unbelievable that neither Steer nor Marte in lineup. This is not Little League where everyone gets to play. Put your best players out there.

  17. Kevin H

    What a great lineup. (SMH)

    After lastnight Marte would of been my ss. De La Cruz at 3rd. As he seems to be better at 3rd. Steer in lf.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Bell. Lol. Crazy lineup and you’re also this deep into a playoff race and you give CES a random game at 3B and Martini in the OF.
    The lineup might actually work, but it defies logic to sit Steer AND Marte at the same time plus defense matters too

    • Kevin H

      Agree 1000%

      These lineups have produced wins, however smh… India and friedl should be 1, 2, CES 3, Fraley 4th, Benson 5th, De La Cruz 6th Votto 7th, Martini and Maile. But oh well

    • Ted Alfred

      Yep…. putting CES at third base is just astronomically stupid. Just asking for a costly error

  19. Roger Garrett

    Lets be honest, give all of us all the info Bell has at his disposal and none of us would come up with this lineup or batting order.We could be given the 9 players as a bonus and still never come up with the batting order.It will be really hard for this team to turn this in to a good decision by our manager but hey they have won a bunch despite well you know so why not one more time.GO REDS

    • greenmtred

      Since you don’t have the info, why would you assume what you’d do if you had it?

  20. Pharmer85

    Would have Elly at 3rd, Marte at short, CES at 1st and Steer in left, Friedl in center and Benson in right. Playing Martini ahead of Steer and Marte is ridiculous

    • West Larry

      I don’t understand this lineup either. I hope the reds win, but even if they win, this is a dumb lineup. Maybe he wants the strongest bench possible? Crazy and indefensible,

    • Ted Alfred

      Correct on all counts….whi is this so hard for him?????

      We might win we might lose but that’s not the point. You’re not putting your players in the most advantageous position to win when you put together a batting order that doesn’t maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. And when you put people on the field where they’re not strongest defensively you’re just asking for trouble. So the team has to overcome obstacles they shouldn’t have to overcome….obstacles crested by their OWN manager….just ridiculous.

  21. Tom Mitsoff

    I’ve stopped wondering about lineups each day. I prefer to presume that with this team in the absolute position to make the playoffs, the manager will make the lineup he feels gives his team the best chance to succeed.

    If I’m the manager, Marte is in there every day. But I’m not. The fact that EDLC is now apparently a platoon player and batting toward the bottom of the order reinforces the point, to me, that winning is the first priority.

    • wkuchad

      Strongly agree with this. Thanks Tom!

  22. Votto4life

    I think continue poor play by the Cubs makes things more interesting. If Cubs continue to falter, then it becomes five teams chasing two spots. I like the Red’s chances in the scenario.

  23. Doc

    After reading all this thread I guess the Reds will have lost by a wide margin tonight. Oh wait, they won again! Bell for Manager of the Year!

    • greenmtred

      But remember, Doc: whether they lose or win isn’t the point. The only salient point, it follows, is whether Bell makes the decisions these guys think they’d make if they were manager. I wonder if there is an FDA approved treatment for hubris poisoning.