In light of FXX’s upcoming marathon of The Simpsons, now is probably the right time to say it: if the Cincinnati Reds make the playoffs in 2014, I’ll eat my shorts, man. You see, despite the mess that the Reds have been for most of the season, their 7-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday gave Cincinnati a series win and left them a game over .500.
Predictably, the recent spurt of success has led to some renewed rumbling about the Reds’ chance to make the postseason, but the chances of that happening are still 1990s Kate-Moss thin. The reasons are many, but the main reasons for pessimism are the Reds’ ongoing inconsistency and the number of teams ahead of them.
On May 1, the Reds were two games under .500, and by June 1, their record had “improved” all the way to … three games under .500. From that point until the All-Star break on July 13, Cincinnati was one of the hottest teams in baseball and entered the second half at seven games over .500. All we needed was a little offensive help on the trade market, and we were all set for a playoff run.
Hello? Mr. Jocketty?
So, general manager Walt Jocketty, seeking to capitalize on the good feelings a the end of the first half decided to let the team ride its wave of momentum into the second half with no changes, a strategy that left the Reds floundering and sliding into a 1-9 streak. That spurt of nothingness saw the team fall to 52-53 and out of the top spots in the National League Central Division.
The funny thing, though, is that NL teams are pretty tightly bunched this season, so the recent success against the Marlins has the Reds back to within four-and-a-half games of the division lead and three-and-a-half out of a Wild Card spot. They’ve been just streaky enough to make you think they could still run for the roses, until you consider that they’re still without Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips, and that their 417 runs scored are the third fewest in baseball.
Then there is the little matter of the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Atlanta Braves. Those are the teams in front of the Reds right now, and at least two of them would need to falter for the Reds to make the postseason.
All in all, there are too many pieces that would need to fall just right in order for the Reds to be playing in October. It’s too much to ask of the baseball Gods.
But, if it did somehow happen? Well, I’d be there cheering for the Redlegs with all the rest of the Riverfront fans, shorts lodged firmly between my jaws.