According to FanGraphs.com, the Reds (53-58) had a 6.4 percent chance of making the playoffs with 51 games to play. Trailing the Chicago Cubs by 7½ games, they had a 1.8 percent chance of winning the Central Division. Their wild-card chances stood at 4.6 percent.
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However you do do the math, the Reds are a longshot — even in the wild-card race because there are five teams between them and the two leaders — but they are at least in the conversation after four straight last-place finishes.
Bell pays attention to the standings every day.
“It’s everything,” Bell said. “It’s one statistic I like paying attention to. That’s what it’s all about. You always keep an eye on it. You can’t really control what other teams do, unless you’re playing them. I think we’ve been around it long enough where you can have fun with it, pay attention to it but also know you can only control what you do each night and that’s going out and winning. If you do it, that’s how you gain ground, by taking care of business in your game.”
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To make a serious run for a playoff berth, the Reds need a lengthy run of success. They won six games in a row in mid-June and have two three-game winning streaks in the last six weeks. They got back to five games under .500 for the 30th time this season by winning Monday. It was their seventh win in the last 10 games.
“Even though we’re not there yet, we have a shot at (the postseason),” Bell said. “We have to continue to play better. We’ve played well off and on all year, enough to where we have the confidence to know we’re good enough. It’s absolutely energizing when you still have close to two months and if you play as well as you’re capable of, if we do that, we’re going to be right there. We’re not so far out of it that it’s going to take a miracle.”
Cubs at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410