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The path to the playoffs for the Cincinnati Reds

One month of baseball. One. Month.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

As we tore off the final August page from The Far Side calendar on the desk at Red Reporter Headquarters this week, something felt decidedly different.

We weren’t looking at the order of the 2022 MLB Draft. We honestly kind of missed the announcement of the September call-ups, all two of them. We hadn’t even settled on a date for our Fantasy Football draft.

Folks, this time when September rolled around, the Cincinnati Reds are in playoff position. The foot hasn’t been taken off the 2021 accelerator - it’s been stomped to the floor.

At 72-63, the Reds hold the second Wild Card spot in the National League playoff chase at the moment, but it’s a perilous position. They’re 10 full games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, and 13.5 games back of San Francisco/Los Angeles for the right to host the Wild Card game, meaning there is one path and one path only for the Reds to make the playoffs at all. On top of that, they’re having to fend off San Diego, St. Louis, and the hard-charging Phillies for that spot, too.

They’ve got a favorable schedule, it would appear, but that only exists on-paper. They’re going to have to take care of business in actuality, and do so hoping no other contender gets hotter.

BK and I yapped about it on the latest episode of the Bleav in Reds podcast last night. Not necessarily about how the Reds got to this position, but how they’ll get through the next month with a playoff spot if it’s to happen. How they’ll need to ride a starting rotation that’s got depth to spare, and how the relative health of the offense will need to be greater than the sum of its parts all Voltron-style.

We wondered whether or not a youth infusion would be a wise idea, too, whether Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo and Jose Barrero would be better served adding their talents to the big league mix down the stretch than trying to keep the Louisville Bats from finishing with the worst record of any AAA club. We also wondered if this year might end up the climax of the post-rebuild emersion, too, with Nick Castellanos likely to be a free agent at season’s end and Joey Votto another year older, and if that meant the Reds really should press their talented prospects to aid what’s perhaps their best chance of this window to make it a reality.

You can hear all that by smashing the play button below, or by following this link if that’s not an option for you for some reason. And if you like/follow/subscribe to us on your various podcast platforms, you’ll get a notification about new episodes without having to read through all this blabber in the first place next time!