In the history of baseball, there have been seven cases of a team blowing a six-game lead with 25 or fewer games remaining. I don't know if that makes me feel better or worse. Actually, I'm lying. It makes me feel A LOT better. In the entire history of baseball, only 7 teams have managed to come back from such a deficit. Heck, out of 192 division leaders with 25 games remaining since divisional play was established in 1969, 79% have gone on to clinch their division regardless of the size of their lead. The Reds are still in good shape.
Some of you probably aren't anymore comfortable though. So, let's take a look at the 7 cases that broke through, just so you can see how much of a disaster we'd have to see to lose the lead.
1930 - The St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Cubs by 10 games on August 19, with 37 games to play. Then they went crazy, going 31-6 (.838 PCT), leap-frogging 3 teams in the standings and taking over first place just 28 days later. The Cubs played decently down the stretch, going 19-18 after August 19, but it's hard to stop a team that plays .838 ball over more than a month.
1934 - The Cardinals did it again (d'oh!), going 20-5 down the stretch. The Gashouse Gang trailed the Giants by 7 games with 24 to play, but made up the distance with their amazing run combined with the Giants going just 9-14 the rest of the way.
1951 - In perhaps the most famous choke job in history, the Brooklyn Dodgers led the New York Giants by 6 games with the Giants having just 12 to play. The Dodgers went 7-9 over their final 16, but the Giants countered with an incredible 11-1 run and the season ended on a tie. As you all know, the Giants won the pennant after Bobby Thompson hit his historic Shot Heard Round the World walk-off home run in the third playoff game between the two teams.
1964 - The stupid Cardinals did it again. This time erasing a 6.5 game lead with just 13 games to be played. They went 10-3 over those 13, but more importantly the Phillies went just 2-10.
Perhaps you are noticing a pattern? The fewer games that are remaining, the more it requires both teams to do something very extreme...
1995 - The Seattle Mariners were just 55-55 and trailed by 11.5 games with 34 to play. The lead was down to 6 by September 11, despite the M's going just 10-7. But then the Mariners got hot, going 13-4 the rest of the way and erasing the Angels lead on the last day of the season. Of course, it helped that the Angels went 11-23 over their last 34 games, including a 9-game losing streak from September 13-23.
2007 - The Mets led the Phillies by 7 with 17 games to play, and then went 5-12 while the Phillies went 13-4, taking the division by a game.
2009 - The Detroit Tigers led the Twins by 6.5 games with 24 to play, The Twins, who were just .500 at the time, went 17-7 to finish the season, while the Tigers limped home with an 11-14 record and lost a one-game playoff and the division.
Honestly, of all of these, only the Tigers-Twins scenario puts fear into my heart about this year. I could see the Reds scuttling with an 11-14 record, and 17-7 doesn't sound out of reach for the Cardinals. But even with that in mind, dropping a 6-game lead with 25-games left for the Cardinals would be an historic collapse. The Reds have looked bad on this road trip, but I don't see them looking that bad the rest of the way.