Yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Guardians was a crushing one, though it did not completely end the Cincinnati Reds chances of making the 2023 playoffs. It effectively ended them, though the math of the situation suggests there’s still a greater than zero possibility they make it in.
What kind of chance do they have, exactly? According to Codify, it ain’t too pretty.
4 days left in the regular season!— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) September 28, 2023
AL PLAYOFF CHANCES
100% BAL TB MIN
NL PLAYOFF CHANCES
100% ATL LA PHI MIL
A 4% chance is barely a chance, yet it’s still a chance.
The Reds need to go out and sweep the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that sold at the trade deadline and is 20 games under .500, last in the National League Central. Impossible? Hardly!
The Reds then need the Milwaukee Brewers, who have already clinced the NL Central division and are setting things up for a deep playoff run, to sweep the Chicago Cubs, something that they would surely enjoy doing but is far, far from a priority for them with October baseball in sight. Impossible? It’s not!
The Reds could also stand to see the Pittsburgh Pirates go out and sweep the Miami Marlins, a feat that would give Pittsburgh a winning (41-40) home record for their 2023 season on the whole. Impossible? Hell, the Pirates just took 2 of 3 against the Reds in GABP last week!
There are a trio of scenarios at play here that, should they work out in perfect fashion, would leave the Reds at 84-78 and a game ahead of both the Cubs and Marlins, each of whom would finish 83-79 in this perfect mash-up of miracles.
The Reds do own the first tiebreaker with the Cubs, I should add. Should those two clubs manage to finish tied for the final NL Wild Card spot, Cincinnati’s 7-6 record against the Baby Bears this year would give them the edge and into the playoffs. However, the Marlins hold the intradivisional tiebreaker over the Reds should those two clubs end up in a tie for the final spot, their 3-3 record against one another in 2023 needing an additional layer of tiebreaking to determine each’s fate.
There’s a large presumption I have taken here, however - both Miami (at the Mets) and Cubs (at the Braves) play today, and the scenario I have laid out here presumes both teams with their games today. That’s far from a given, of course, and losses by either (or both) would inch the Reds precariously closer to having slightly more of a shot-in-hell chance at the postseason. So, while the Reds have their final day off of the 2023 regular season today, go root like heck for the Mets and Braves to take care of some additional business on the Reds behalf, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a series of miracles to witness over the weekend in Busch Stadium.