Cincinnati Reds: Where they stand in playoff race

Michael Lorenzen interview (Sept. 15, 2020)

The Cincinnati Reds have won four games in a row for the first time this season, and the winning streak has made them a contender in the race for one of the eight National League playoff berths.

By beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Tuesday, the Reds (24-26) moved within a half game of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals (21-22) in the Central Division. The top two teams in each division qualify for the best-of-three wild-card series, which start Sept. 30 for the NL teams.

The Reds can also get to the playoffs by winning one of the two wild cards. They trail the San Francisco Giants (23-24), who had their game Tuesday postponed by the wildfires in California, by one half game.

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According to FanGraphs.com, the Reds have a 43.5 percent chance of earning a playoff berth: 16.5 percent by finishing second in the division and 28.6 percent by winning a wild card. They still have a 0.2 percent chance of winning the division.

The Reds have 10 games remaining in the 60-game season. The Cardinals have 15 games scheduled in the next 12 days. They had a number of games postponed by positive COVID-19 tests earlier this season, and two games against the Detroit Tigers have not been rescheduled.

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The Cardinals have an easier schedule down the stretch. They play two last-place teams — the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-33) and Kansas City Royals (20-29) — a total of eight times. Their other seven games are against the Milwaukee Brewers (22-25).

The Reds and Pirates finish their four-game series at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds then play three games at home, starting Friday, against the Chicago White Sox (32-16), who have the second-best record in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (34-15). The Reds also close the season with a three-game series on the road against the Minnesota Twins (30-20), one of six teams in baseball with 30 or more victories.

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