Reds notes: Gray appears postseason ready in return from injured list

Credit: David Jablonski

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Credit: David Jablonski

Sonny Gray wasn’t thinking about his back Tuesday in his first start in 12 days. He was only thinking about executing pitches.

“I felt great,” Gray said. “I was very happy to be out there. i was talking to Trevor (Bauer) a little bit after it, and it was nice to be out there and just focusing on getting guys out.”

That’s a good sign for the Cincinnati Reds, who hope Gray gets a chance to pitch in the postseason next week.

“He looked great,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He really did. He looked healthy, too. We know we have him back moving forward. That’s really important for our team. He’s obviously one of our best. We’ll see him again this season.”

Gray (5-3, 3.73) came off the injured list and allowed one earned run on two hits in five innings while striking out eight. He gave up a home run to Tyrone Taylor in the fifth. Gray left the game after the fifth because he had thrown 80 pitches and the plan was for him to pitch 65 because he hadn’t pitched since Sept. 10.

Tejay Antone (0-3, 2.94) pitched a scoreless sixth but then gave up two runs on three hits in the seventh. The Reds lost the middle game of the series 3-2.

“Tejay’s been great for us all year,” Gray said. “He’s going to be great for us down the stretch run. There’s no question in my mind whatsoever. You just saw the seventh inning unravel a little bit.”

Explore» Where Reds stand in playoff picture

Updated odds: Through Tuesday’s games, the Reds had a 66.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to They had 10.3 percent chance of finishing second and a 56.0 percent chance of winning a wild card.

Postseason drought: The Reds seek their first playoff berth in seven years. Only five teams in baseball have a longer drought, and two have already clinched spots in the expanded 16-team playoffs this season.

The Seattle Mariners have baseball’s longest playoff drought. They haven’t advanced to the postseason since 2001.

The Miami Marlins haven’t made it since 2003 but are in contention this season. The San Diego Padres, who haven’t made it since 2006, and White Sox, who last reached the playoffs in 2008, will both play in the postseason this season.

The Phillies are contending for their first berth since 2011, though they fell to 27-29 on Tuesday when they were swept in a doubleheader by the Washington Nationals.

Explore» NEW EXPERIENCE: Garrett feels energy of his first playoff race

Looking ahead: The Reds open a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis at 8:10 p.m. Friday. They play Saturday at 7:10 p.m. and close the series and the regular season at 3:10 p.m. Sunday.

The Reds and Twins have played 24 games since interleague play started in 1997, and the series is tied 12-12. The Reds won the last series 2-1 in 2018 in Minneapolis. The Reds are 3-7 on the road against Minnesota.

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