For the first time since 1999, the Reds wake up with a chance to clinch a playoff spot that day. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have brought up 1999, but it's still pretty cool. The Reds could clinch today. Let me repeat that: The Reds could clinch today. Cool.
The one thing I don't want to happen today is for the Reds and Cardinals to have the same outcome. If the Cardinals lose, I want the Reds to win. However, if the Cardinals win, I'm okay with the Reds losing today. Why? If the magic number drops to 1 today, then there is the Reds will clinch tomorrow if the Cardinals lose. I don't want the Reds to clinch on an off day. I won't complain if they do - I'll take a clinch however we get it - but we may not get to see them celebrate in the playoffs, so I want to see them at least celebrate the division title. Am I counting my chickens before they've hatched? You betcha. But if the Reds aren't going to clinch today, I'd much rather they clinched on Tuesday, when I'm at the park.
The Reds have won 7 of the 8 starts from Homer Bailey since he came off of the disabled list, but Bailey hasn't had a win himself since August 20th. I think at this point, Bailey is the odd man out of the playoff rotation. He's pitched well since coming back (3.88 ERA, 43 K, 15 BB, 2 HR in 46.1 IP), but I don't think he's done enough to establish himself as a viable candidate for the rotation yet. Of course, if he goes out and pitches a complete game shutout today, the conversation may change.
Clayton Richard is having a very good year, but he's coming off of two very different starts. His last start was a complete game shutout of the Dodgers where he threw only 105 pitches. In his prior start, he threw 80 pitches over 3 innings, allowing 11 hits and 8 runs to the Rockies. I wouldn't expect such a performance from the Reds today, but who knows? They're due for a breakout here, having scored 4 runs or fewer in 7 of their last 9 games. It would be very cleansing for us all if they would put up a 9-spot AND clinch the division today. Then we can party for a week and a half before the playoffs start.
Go Reds! Win the division today, please!