The Cincinnati Reds have just 19 games remaining in this 2020 season, one that sees them somehow still 2.5 games out of a playoff spot despite there being an absurd 16 teams making the playoffs this year.
Of those 19 games left, 12 come against teams who currently hold playoff spots, and that includes the next 6 games on the schedule. All 6 of those are road games, too, with tonight’s contest at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs the start of it.
Tyler Mahle gets the ball tonight for the Reds as they begin their season-defining stretch, one that will see them head to St. Louis for the end of the week and back home to face Pittsburgh afterwards, a stretch that will also see them tasked with playing 10 games in 9 days.
I said ‘season-defining’ there, and that’s a statement that deserves qualification, I believe. So far, the thing that has defined their season to date has been serial disappointment, as a club that brought in so many new players and held so much promise before games began has utterly fallen flat this year. There has been no momentum, little fire, and wildly inconsistent performance, and the first Reds season in years that had any sort of expectation behind it has been even more painful for fans than the lost, dark years of the rebuild. So, when I say ‘season-defining’ about this upcoming stretch, let it be known that it’s either going to be the kind of unlikely 10 game stretch of brilliance that you tell your kids about someday, or it’s going to be the nail in the coffin of one of the more disappointing sports seasons I can remember.
Even mediocrity will hammer that nail, mind you, as a .500 stretch through these games still isn’t good enough. They’ve got to win, win lots of them, and then keep on winning to make anything out of this season, and that’s simply the unlikeliest of scenarios right now given everything we’ve seen from them this year.
Anyhoo, that opportunity will present itself this evening at 8:15 PM ET, when Mahle toes the rubber opposite Alec Mills of the Cubs. Anything short of a win should turn your focus from the rest of this season towards next summer’s draft position, in all honesty.
Go Reds. Rather...go, Reds?