The biggest series of the year (until the next one) begins tonight for the Reds. They currently reside second in the National League Central, which in 2020 is good for a playoff spot. Furthermore, should the Cardinals usurp them in that spot, the Reds are tied with the Phillies for the final Wild Card spot by winning percentage. Considering no one has played the same amount of games in this pandemic season, it’s difficult to tell how many “games back” they are, or if everyone is actually going to play the same amount of games by the time this is all said and done.
So, the best and easiest way for the Reds to get into the playoffs is just to keep winning, something they’ve done five times in a row now.
That task gets a little tougher tonight. Instead of playing the cellar dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates, they’ll face off with the American League leading Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park.
Jonathan Stiever takes the mound for the Sox tonight in only his second appearance above A+ ball in his career. A fifth round pick in 2018, the former Hoosier pitched 145 innings last season between A Kannapolis and A+ Winston-Salem, good for a 3.48 ERA, striking out 9.6 per nine innings, walking only 1.7.
Stiever made his Major League debut last Sunday against the Tigers, where he pitched 3.2 innings, allowing one run while walking two and striking out three.
This generally means that the Reds will struggle for hits tonight. The White Sox clinched a playoff birth last night, so maybe they’ll go all Clinchmas on the Reds tonight, who knows!
Tyler Mahle takes the mound for the Reds. Eugenio Suarez returns.
Geno back!— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 18, 2020
Reds lineup presented by @PNCBank pic.twitter.com/1BnrmHuLSA
Tonight's #WhiteSox starters in Cincinnati.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 18, 2020
⏰: 6:10 p.m.
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: @WGNRadio pic.twitter.com/n1ztsNNSBk