Reds begin preparation for playoff series vs. Braves

Cincinnati one of baseball’s hottest teams as postseason begins

Manager David Bell wasn’t ready to reveal the Cincinnati Reds postseason roster or the lineup for Game 1 of their wild-card series against the Atlanta Braves, but the preparation for that game began Monday as the Reds held a workout at Truist Park.

“We have two days to dive in and get to know (the Braves),” Bell said. “We haven’t seen them all year. We’re familiar with them, but we’ll be more familiar with them after today and tomorrow. Today is a lighter day. We got in pretty late last night. We’ll get out and move around. We’re excited to be here. It’s good to get out of the hotel and get some movement.”

The Reds will play the Braves at noon Wednesday. Game times for Thursday’s Game 2 and Friday’s Game 3, if it’s necessary, had not been announced as of Monday afternoon.

The Reds enter the postseason as one of baseball’s hottest teams. They won 11 of their last 14 games. They tied with three other teams — the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres — for baseball’s best record in the last 20 games (13-7).

By winning two of three games in the final series of the regular season against the Minnesota Twins, the Reds won their fifth series in a row after winning two of their first 15 series.

“It really did create a good energy around our team as we traveled here last night,” Bell said. “It was good coming off the field and finally knowing exactly where were going , even though we didn’t really have a preference. It was probably better we got to leave last night and kind of get settled.”

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Winning season: The Reds didn’t improve their playoff seeding by beating the Twins 5-3 in 10 innings Sunday but did end a streak of six straight losing seasons. They finished the 60-game season with a record of 31-29.

The six-year run of losing, which included four straight last-place finishes in the National League Central Division, was the fifth longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history since 1900. The Reds recorded 11 straight losing seasons from 1945-55. They suffered nine straight losing seasons from 2001-09 and 1929-37 and seven straight from 1910-16.

“We wanted to finish the season over .500,” starter Sonny Gray said. “We clawed to get back to .500 for so long throughout the course of these 60 games, and these 60 games were truly a whirlwind. It was something none of us had ever been a part of, something none of us had ever experienced before. Ending the season above .500 after being under .500 for so long throughout it, to finish with five series wins in a row after not winning many series throughout the first half or three quarters of the season. we feel really good with where we’re at.”

Reds infielder Kyle Farmer was more happy for the city of Cincinnati than the team that it finished the season above. 500.

“The city has been deserving of a winning record for its baseball team for a long time,” Farmer said, “and I’m just happy for the city and all the fans out there. It’s an exciting time to see the culture change around the Cincinnati ballclub. I’m hoping more wins will come.”

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Looking ahead: Trevor Bauer (5-4, 1.73) and Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21) will start the first two games of the wild-card series for the Reds, and if a Game 3 is needed Friday, Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.70) will start. After missing one start with a back injury in September, he closed the regular season with two strong performances. In the regular-season finale Sunday, he allowed two earned runs on two hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“I feel good,” Gray said. “Physically, I feel great with where I’m at going into this next start, this next series on Friday. I’ll get ready for that day. If it comes, great. If not, hopefully we’re moving on. I feel like I’m in a really good spot moving forward. It was nice to get out there and get another start."

Atlanta’s plans: The Braves will start left-hander Max Fried (7-0, 2.25) and then right-handers Ian Anderson (3-2, 1.95) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.21) in the three games.

Braves starters rank last in the National League with a 5.51 ERA, while the Reds starters rank third (3.50). However, Braves relievers rank second in the league (3.50), while the Reds bullpen ranks eighth (4.53).

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