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View Full Version : Take a Deep Breath: A look at the Run to October



ThornWithin81
09-09-2010, 07:07 PM
Before I get started, I want to clarify a few things.

1) I'm not trying to pump Sunshine up anyone's rear about our chances once we get into the Playoffs. We need to step up if we're going to make it to the NLCS or the Series, plain and simple. Getting healthy and rested will help - assuming we can manage to do that. But we do need to improve and iron out our rotation issues to have a fighter's chance once the playoffs begin.

2) This thread is NOT about our chances within the playoffs. I'm simply making an argument about the staggering odds that the Reds will in fact make the 2010 Post-season, based on season trends, standings and the games that are remaining to be played.

Over the past few days, I have seen a lot of Sundeckers asserting that "We will not make the playoffs" in one form or another. Sometimes it is a general assertion. Sometimes there's something attached to it. I feel like people need to step back, take a deep breath and establish some perspective. First, let's look at a few key numbers that most of us probably know already:

Cincinnati's Magic Number: 19
Cincinnati's Lead in the Central: 5.5

Both of these numbers are favorable. These two numbers together are extremely favorable. If you don't believe these two things are incredibly, incredibly strong - look to the end of the post for my counterpoint.

Here are a few more numbers to take into account:

Cincinnati's Games Remaining: 22
St. Louis's Games Remaining: 25

Although I would prefer to see the Cardinals with less games remaining, keep in mind that the Cardinals have no off-days remaining. That will take a toll as they try to push for the playoffs. The Reds have two off-days remaining, both of them coming in a five day span towards the end of the month. That should be helpful once we get there.

The Reds are not at full song right now. This is very important. Jay Bruce is still out. Brandon Phillips is not 100%. Rolen seems exhausted and our rotation is still in flux. Now, we can't expect all of these problems to solve themselves heading towards October but I do believe that at least a few of them will trend upwards. Whenever Bruce returns to the lineup, it will represent a serious shot in the arm. If Volquez has ironed his malfunction out that would also be huge.

The primary reason that I believe we all need to just take a deep breath shows itself when we compare the remaining schedules of the two contenders in the Central Division from today onward. First, let's look at the Reds:

Cincinnati - 22 Games To Play
- Three Games (H) against the Pittsburgh Pirates (47-92)
- Four Games (A) against the Arizona Diamondbacks (57-83)
- Three Games (A) against the Houston Astros (66-73)
- Three Games (A) against the Milwaukee Brewers (65-74)
- Off-day
- Three Games (A) against the San Diego Padres (79-59)
- Off-day
- Three Games (H) against the Houston Astros (66-73)
- Three Games (H) against the Milwaukee Brewers (65-74)

Breakdown:
With 22 games to play the Reds only have to play three games against a team with a winning record. The next seven games come against the two worst teams in the entire National League. If the Reds are truly a team that feasts on the weak teams, prepare to eat well in the coming weeks.

And now, the Cardinals...

St. Louis - 25 Games to Play
- Four Games (A) against the Atlanta Braves (80-60)
- Three Games (H) against the Chicago Cubs (60-80)
- Four Games (H) against the San Diego Padres (79-59)
- One Game (A) against the Florida Marlins (70-69)
- Three Games (A) against the Pittsburgh Pirates (47-92)
- Three Games (A) against the Chicago Cubs (60-80)
- Three Games (H) against the Pittsburgh Pirates (47-92)
- Four Games (H) against the Colorado Rockies (76-64)

Breakdown:
With 25 games left to play the Cardinals have to play 13 games against teams currently possessing a winning record. While the Reds have a regular three game series against the Padres, the Cardinals have FOUR game sets against Atlanta, San Diego AND Colorado. They have six games left against the Cubs, a team that will not (and so far this year, has not) rolled over to allow the Cardinals an easy road. They have no off-days. Lastly, since I think this is worth pointing out - three of their six games against the woeful Pirates are on the Road in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are a terrible 47-92 on the season, however, they are only six games below .500 (33-39) at home. The Pirates will likely win at least one or two against the Cardinals before the year is out.

What does all this mean?


The Reds have the easier schedule, by far. Cincinnati plays TEN less games against winning teams to end the year. That's a huge split. The Cardinals have a lot of bullets to face AND have to face those strong clubs in four game series.
The Reds already have the lead, and a strong one at that. Even after dropping six out of seven on the road, the Reds still will (at worst) have a five game lead over STL by the time Friday morning rolls around in the Queen City.
The Reds are a team that feasts on lesser competition - they have a steady diet of it coming up. This is exactly what they need going towards the post-season.


I'll leave you with one last thought. The Reds have 22 games to play, most of which fall against awful to bad teams. Even with our struggles, I think most of us can expect the team to at minimum manage .500 baseball down the stretch. Let's assume that the Reds do that. They go 11-11 to end the year, finishing at 90-72.

An 11-11 finish against some very poor baseball teams would mean that St. Louis would have to finish 18-7 to force a one-game playoff for the Central crown or 19-6 to win the Central outright. The Cardinals could rally to finish 17-8 down the stretch and still lose the Central outright.

Take a deep breath. I'll see you in October. :beerme:

Road Pop
09-09-2010, 07:17 PM
Great post Thorn!

I think a lot of people get discouraged when they see the standings slip a little. I was only hoping for a .500 season at the start of the season, and now I'm a LOT more hungry for post season.

Todays game wasn't good, but the Reds will bounce back.

ThornWithin81
09-12-2010, 09:24 AM
Updated Numbers:

With 20 games to play, if we still assume that the Reds will manage .500 baseball at minimum from this point forward, the Reds will finish with a record of 91-71 or better.

The Cardinals have 22 games left to play and currently stand at 73-67. If the Reds finish .500 from this point forward with a mark of 91-71 that means that the Cardinals would need to finish with the following records to contest our winning the Central:

19-3 - If the Cardinals finish 19-3 while we finish 10-10, the Cardinals win the Central
18-4 - If the Cardinals finish 18-4 while we finish 10-10, the two teams will participate in a single playoff game for the Central crown.

17-5 would not cut it, despite posting an incredible winning percentage. Basically, the past two days likely represent the final nail the Redbird coffin for 2010.

Vottomatic
09-12-2010, 11:10 AM
Let's just get to the postseason. Funny things happen once you get there.

I think we all know we don't have an ace starter to dominate other teams. That's a given. So we will need to be at our best offensively if we're going to survive.

But we weren't supposed to be here yet anyway. So I look at it as a chance to get our feet wet, gain postseason experience for our entire team, maybe get lucky or hit a hot streak, and if nothing else, show us what Walt & Bob need to tweak in the offseason to make us a better contending club, such as an ace.

I'm expecting this to be the beginning of something beautiful for the next 2 or 3 years, and hopefully longer.

ThornWithin81
09-12-2010, 11:15 AM
I think we all know we don't have an ace starter to dominate other teams. That's a given. So we will need to be at our best offensively if we're going to survive.

If Volquez's mechanics stay as tight as they were last night, I might not agree with this sentiment. He can be that guy - he was downright nasty early on in 2008.

At the very least, if he continues to pitch like he did last night it is a huge shot in the arm for our Rotation heading into the dance.

bshall2105
09-12-2010, 11:21 AM
If Volquez's mechanics stay as tight as they were last night, I might not agree with this sentiment. He can be that guy - he was downright nasty early on in 2008.

At the very least, if he continues to pitch like he did last night it is a huge shot in the arm for our Rotation heading into the dance.

Volquez did look great, but the Pirates could make Kip Wells look like a TOR pitcher. I will need to see starts like this for the rest of the season, from Volquez, before I would even give him a start in the playoffs. We can't get into the playoffs and have Edinson walk 6 in the first inning.

ThornWithin81
09-18-2010, 08:35 PM
Updating this one more time...

Reds - 83-65 (14 to play)
Cardinals - 76-71 (16 to play)

If the Reds play .500 baseball and win 7 of their remaining 14 contests (including tonight, a game that they lead) the Reds will finish 90-72.

With 16 games to play, if the Reds just cling to life and play .500 down the stretch against bad opponents the St. Louis Cardinals will need to finish 16-0 to win the division outright, 15-1 to set up a one game playoff or... that's it.

The Cardinals could finish 14-2 and miss the playoffs. We're playing .500 baseball as we needed to do when I made the first post. Barring an absolutely epic meltdown, this one belongs to the Reds.