Thursday, September 19, 2013

And Down the Stretch We Come!!!

We have finally reached the home stretch of the MLB Regular Season.  For weeks now, I've heard people talking about this time of the season.  Where will the Reds be when they play the Pirates 6 times in the last 9 games?  Will it be for the division?  Will it be for the home Wild Card game?  Will it be for a playoff spot at all?  The answers to those questions are; maybe, yes, and God I hope not.  First here is a look at the standings and who everyone has left.  Then we'll just visit a few thoughts on where we are, where we might be, and the season in general.


88-65  PIRATES             1 GB
87-66  REDS                   2 GB

Remaining opponents: Each series is 3 games.

at Milwaukee Brewers

at Chicago Cubs
at Cincinnati Reds

at Pittsburgh Pirates


1. I think the Cardinals will lose 4 games the rest of the way.  Sounds like a pipe dream, but I really feel that way.  Milwaukee has been hot lately, so losing 2 there would not be surprising.  Then they get the Nationals who will probably still mathematically have a chance at a Wild Card spot.  And if you haven't noticed, the Nationals are scorching right now, having won 21 of their last 28 games.  Then they have their rival to close it out.  The Cubs would love nothing more then to crush the Cardinals spirits.  The Cards are good, and definitely in the drivers seat to win this, but their last 9 games are not easy by any means.  5-4 is my prediction.

2.  So that means the Reds need to go 7-2 to catch them.  Can they do it?  Yes.  Will they do it?  No idea.  Bailey and Latos are hot right now, so I could see them taking 4 games themselves the rest of the way.  If they take 2 of 3 in each Pirates series, and sweep the Mets, that's 7 wins.  It's there, the math works if the Cardinals agree to help them out.

3.  How badly are the Pirates freaking out right now?  They just about got swept in a 4 game series at home by the San Diego Padres.  That loss on Wednesday had to be so crushing to the players and the fans.  Up in the ninth with 2 outs and the Padres get 3 straight hits to stun them?  Wow.  If the Reds take Game 1 on Friday night, they are going to be like a deer in headlights.  If the Reds can sweep them here and the Nationals stay hot?  Uh oh.

4.  One more thought on the Nationals.  Root for them this weekend against the Marlins.  If they can stay in it, they'll go for broke to beat the Cardinals.  If they fall off, then they might throw in the towel.  Of course if the Reds lose the first 2 and the Nationals win the first 2, then root like hell for the Nationals to lose.  I don't want to go through that nightmare.  And if you weren't aware, the Nationals are currently 5 games behind the Reds for the last Wild Card spot.

5.  So the Reds are 2 games behind the Cardinals for the division lead.  We can all think of 2 games that the Reds have given away this year.  Heck, I can think of 5 or 6 right off the top of my head.  But you know, if they had just won 1 more game against the Cards, they'd be tied.  So think back to that 16 inning game a couple of weeks ago.  Or that game in St. Louis where the Reds led 4-0 and Craig hit a granny in the 7th.  Crazy that the result of 1 game looms so large. 

6.  I've been saying it since Monday, that loss on Sunday to the Brewers is going to haunt the Reds the rest of the year.  I just know it.

7.  Quick thoughts on Billy Hamilton.  First off, dude is lightning fast.  Second, I am so amazed at the way he reads the pitcher.  The pitchers right leg bends to begin to throw over and he's always on his way back.  Pitcher raises his left leg, he's already gone.  If you haven't played baseball, you have no idea how hard and nerve racking that is to stare at the pitcher and react to his first movement.  And if you have, you know what I'm talking about.  Third, if you hit behind Hamilton, and he's on first, you know you are getting a heater.  The pitcher doesn't want to throw a slider and waste .001 seconds with Hamilton running.

8.  Jay Bruce is third in the NL in home runs, second in doubles, second in RBI's, first in extra base hits, and most definitely going to get a Gold Glove Award.  So I ask, if Jay Bruce gets hot and carries this team to a division title, does he get real consideration for the NL MVP Award?  I don't think he wins it, but he should be in the Top 5 when it's all said and done.

9.  Because I know people like Magic Numbers.  Here is where the 3 NL Central teams stand with 9 games to go...
Cardinals have a magic number of 9 to win the division and a magic number of 3 to clinch a playoff spot.
Pirates have a magic number of 4 to clinch a playoff spot.
Reds have a magic number of 5 to clinch a playoff spot.

10.  So what do I honestly think will happen?  I think the Reds will take both series from the Pirates.  I think the Reds will lose 1 to the Mets and go 6-3 the rest of the way.  Cardinals will lose 4, like I stated before, and ultimately finish 1 game ahead of the Reds.  The Pirates will lose another game to the Cubs and finish 3-6 the rest of the way.  That's not enough for the Nationals to catch them.  So October 1st, we'll see the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card Game. 

Let's hear it Reds fans, what are your predictions?  Can't wait for Friday nights game.  Haven't been this excited about a game in awhile.  Thanks for reading.


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