It's been widely discussed that once the Pirates lost on Thursday, the Reds' loss was rendered meaningless. That's kind of how baseball races work anyway, but it's definitely pretty weird that a one game deficit or a tie are the same thing for this series. The Reds need to take at least two games.
After Game 162 ends, whether they tie the Pirates or end up with a one game lead is immaterial because they will have won the season series. And the season series is the tie-breaker.
The grammar for this gets confusing. We need a future perfect Wild Card tense.
What's arguably weirder than that, though, is that if the Reds do win two out of three then we can pretend there's no second Wild Card in the NL.
Winning two out of three in this series would put the Reds in a tie for the Wild Card with the Pirates. Before the new playoff system was instituted in 2012, this would have meant the Reds and Pirates would have played a one-game tiebreaker to determine who would make the playoffs (and NLDS).
So, effectively, that's what the OGPO (one-game playoff) would end up being. It happened three times under the old Wild Card system. One of those, of course, was the Reds and Mets in 1999 -- which, while we're pretending, never happened either.
This gives the Reds the chance, in some small way, to avenge the ghosts on 1999. Winning the OGPO also lets them say they advanced a round in the playoffs - a feat that's eluded the franchise this decade. You don't have to hate the new Wild Card system after all. You just have to ignore it completely.