It seems like every time I post something about the Reds, it’s negative. Maybe my blood gets to boiling after a disappointing loss or series and I just have to write something. But not today. Not after the Reds finished off the Cubs to win yet another series, and improve their record to 20-games over .500. Can you believe it? I’ve been covering this team since spring training began in Arizona. I knew they would be competitive – even good. I was confident that this would be the year they would break the string of nine consecutive non-winning seasons. But to have a five-game lead in the division heading into the September call-ups? I didn’t think that.
The Reds are banged up right now. Even injuries aren’t stopping them. Orlando Cabrera has been out for a while with an oblique strain. He’ll be back very soon – probably this week. Brandon Phillips saw action as a pinch-runner on Sunday. His hand continues to be troublesome. He took fielding practice before Sunday’s game and looked to still be in some pain as he shook his hand after throwing the ball. Laynce Nix has a banged up ankle, but he’s working on coming back as well.
The Brewers come to GABP this week. Righthander Aaron Harang will start on Tuesday night. It will be his first start in coming back from an injury of his own. His AAA rehab starts were less than stellar. The word was the Reds were trying to get his pitch count up to get him ready to rejoin the rotation. The stats were that he got beat up to the tune of a 9.00 ERA. Who knows what will happen on Tuesday. This is probably a tryout for the Reds postseason roster. Locks for the playoff rotation look to be Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and Travis Wood. I’ve heard that there might be a five-man rotation in the playoffs, but I can’t believe that. I would expect a four-man rotation with Harang, Homer Bailey, and Edinson Volquez competing for that last spot. My money’s on Bailey, who starts on Monday.
How amazing is the reaction going to be when MLB announces that the Reds have permission to print playoff tickets? Reds fans have almost forgotten how it feels for playoff tickets to go on sale. The last playoff game in Cincinnati was a 1-game playoff with the Mets at the end of the 1999 season. (Thank you Al Leiter for ruining that night for the home team.) The last playoff series was the 1995 NLCS with the Atlanta Braves, which went largely unnoticed in the aftermath of the 1994 players strike. I notice the networks are testing new camera angles and using more cameras during Reds home games. It looks like a dress rehearsal/practice for the production crew. I am loving the blimp shots during the games.
My magic number for this team is seven. Seven more wins gives the Reds 82 and ends the nine-season consecutive non-winning streak for this franchise. The real magic number, though, is 29. Any combination of Reds wins and Cardinals losses totalling 29, and Cincinnati will clinch their first Division Title in 15 years. The Reds travel to St. Louis this weekend for the last games of 2010 between the teams. St. Louis has had the Reds number this year, but the Reds will have the division lead entering the series with the knowledge that they quickly grew that lead immediately after the last series and on the dreaded west coast trip. Regardless of how this season ends, kudos to Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker for getting the most out of this team and reminding all fans around Reds Country why we love baseball in the first place.
About the Author
Written by Dave Allen
I'm a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan who has been following the Reds and Bengals ever since I can remember. My first Reds game was Game 6 of the '72 World Series and my first Bengals game was an October 1975 clash with the Steelers. I've been involved in sports media since Junior High, when I assisted with scores for Bob Trumpy SportsTalk in 1979 on WLW Radio. My biggest Reds highlight came in 1998 when I was chosen to be the public address announcer at Riverfront Stadium (then called Cinergy Field) for Opening Day and the entire first homestand. I am thrilled to be involved with PSB and I hope you enjoy my entries!