Cueto's close, Cingrani's up in the air, and Billy Hamilton finally got to bat. Mark Sheldon takes us through three of the most relevant stories out of the Reds' dugout of late, and I guess the overall prognosis is positive. Cueto seems to be making enough strides to be a serious consideration for some late season (and potentially playoff) action, Cingrani's back doesn't appear to be in terrible shape (and with the off days, his spot in the rotation can be skipped while keeping the other starters on their normal rest), and Billy Hamilton notched his first PAs and first defensive innings at the major league level. Cool.
The Reds just wrapped up a 7-3 homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. I don't have a link for that. I just thought I'd type that up on my rose-colored keyboard so that everyone who claimed the sky was falling on Tuesday could read it again. Baseball is weird.
Dave Cameron attempts to math some math regarding playoff odds and the AL Wild Card chase. While the FanGraphs writer focuses on the AL, not the NL, the basic premise of this is more or less the same, meaning it's still a relevant discussion given the Reds/Pirates/Cardinals..../Nationals chase in the senior circuit. I made a comment on Tuesday to the effect of "this loss against the Cubs doesn't really change the Reds chances" of winning the division, and this article does a bit of my explaining for me. FanGraphs makes percentage-based projections on who will make the playoffs given their current record and upcoming schedule based on numerous factors, one of which is their upcoming strength of schedule. I made said comment after the Reds had just lost two straight games to the lowly Cubs, and yes, after the second game against the Cubs, the Reds odds of winning the division had taken a hit; but where was that percentage before the Dodgers series? How many games did the projections expect the Reds to win out of the 6 games against Los Angeles and Chicago...4? Look, I'm all for projections as a starting point, but they're still just educated guesses. The Cardinals have a better percentage chance of winning the Central because they play more "bad" teams than the Reds do between now and the end of the season, yet the Reds just beat up on two of the best teams in baseball before being knocked around by one of the worst; in other words, it's still an anything-can-happen last 3 weeks. What I believe Dave means with the title of this article is that "In the Wild Card Race, Schedule Matters to the Odds Makers." Rant over.
Remember those 2012 Baltimore Orioles, the darlings of the baseball world who motored to a 93-69 regular season record despite only having a +7 run differential? Well, it appears that their 29-9 run in 1 run games from just one season ago has been flipped on it's head, and they now sport the worst record in all of baseball in 1 run affairs. The Orioles sit at 77-68, 11 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and 1.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2nd Wild Card spot; the Orioles also boast a nice +44 run differential this season. Sometimes, it's just your year.
Over at Redleg Nation, Greg Dafler compiled a solid stat-blurb about how the Reds' hitting prospects navigated their 2013 seasons. It's a solid reference point compiled onto one page for all of you Farmer's Only junkies, and it's also a pretty good visual interpretation of why none of the Reds' minor league affiliates had seasons worth a hoot. There's always next year.