The Reds’ Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto celebrate after a victory against the White Sox on Monday, July 2, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Three reasons the Cincinnati Reds can escape last place

Reds playing well in last month despite 19-4 loss Wednesday

Interim manager Jim Riggleman gave a pep talk earlier this season about ending that streak.

“Let’s go catch that fourth-place club,” Riggleman told the players. “Then after that, let’s go get that third-place club.”

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The Reds have played well for the last month and even took two of three games in Cleveland this week — a 19-4 loss on Wednesday in the series finale only counted as one loss even if it was their most lopsided loss of the season.

While the Reds have a 0.0 percent chance of winning the NL Central, according to MLB.com’s math, and a 0.1 percent chance of winning a wild-card bid, they do have a chance of catching the Pittsburgh Pirates and moving into fourth place. The deficit stood at 2½ games through Wednesday.

Here are three reasons the Reds can rise in the standings:

1. More chances: The Reds are 4-6 against the Pirates and play them nine more times, three times right after the all-star break and six times in September.

2. Better play: The Pirates are 14-22 since June 1. The Reds are 21-15. Since June 9, the Reds have climbed seven games closer to the Pirates. They were as close as 1½ games until losing Wednesday.

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3. Hot bats: Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett continues to lead the National League in batting average (.326). The Reds haven’t had a player lead the league in hitting at the end of a season since Pete Rose in 1973.

Third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who leads the league with 69 RBIs, could end another franchise drought. Dave Parker was the last Red to lead the league in RBIs. He had 125 in 1985.

Meanwhile, Joey Votto is trying to extend his streak of leading the league in on-base percentage. His OBP stands at .425. That’s the best percentage in a category he has dominated throughout his career. He has led the league the last two years and six of the last eight.

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