The Cincinnati Reds are 7 games back in their division – but, are the #2 Wild Card team in the NL. The Reds have played well this year, and are looking toward finishing the year better than they have in recent playoff runs. In spite of winning the division and making the playoffs 2 of the last 3 seasons, they’ve gone a combined 2-6 in the postseason, and have yet to win a playoff series since 1995. If they make it into the postseason this year, it almost definitely will be as a Wild Card team (since both Pittsburgh and St. Louis are well ahead of them in the division). But, can they make a serious run at the World Series?
3 Reasons Why
- Good Eye – Cincinnati has the best walk percentage in the NL (9.1%). In fact, only Boston and Oakland have been issued more BB’s than the Reds in all of baseball. Free-swinging teams don’t tend to last very long in the postseason – so, this bodes well for the Red Legs.
- Good Glove – the Reds have committed the 3rd fewest errors in the NL (54), and are just .001 behind the NL leader in team fielding percentage.
- Good Arm – the pitching staff in Cincinnati knows how to pitch away from the bats of their opponents. They possess the best K/9 average (8.18) and K/BB ratio (3.00) in the NL.
3 Why Not
- Sluggish – the Reds aren’t exactly what you might call a “fast” team. Let’s put it this way: there are 4 players around the league that have stolen as many or more bases than the entire Reds team (33). And, before you just chalk that up to Dusty Baker not sending them often enough, they also have the worst Speed rating in the entire NL (a stat that measures baserunning speed in addition to stolen bases). Putting the pressure on the defense – at least on occasion – is an important piece of a successful playoff run.
- A Little Lucky – the Reds have the 2nd lowest BABIP (batting avg. on balls in play) rate in the NL against their pitching. So, while they do have a respectable team ERA and WHIP, they’ve also been the benefactors of some lucky bounces, and fortunate location of the balls that have been hit. That luck isn’t always going to hold up in the postseason.
- Deadline Duds – in spite of some obvious holes on their team, the Reds didn’t even appear to make an attempt to improve themselves at the trade deadline. Now, their claim is that they expect those holes to be filled in the coming days & weeks by guys coming off of the DL – Sean Marshall, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Ludwick, & Jonathan Broxton. But, who’s to say those guys will be effective? Who’s to say if they’ll actually return at all (Marshall’s return has looked imminent, only to be slowed on two occasions by further issues)? Acquiring bullpen help and/or a right-handed bat would have made a lot of sense if they are serious about their chances this year of going deep in the playoffs.
How do you think the Reds will finish 2013? Vote now: