Re: 10/1/2012 Reds at Cardinals
I'd guess there's a mentality that comes over a player. My job now is to be ready for the playoffs and healthy. I'll play "hard" but I basically want to protect my body from injury and not overdo things.
It seems more pronounced for the offense on the Reds, but pitchers don't work every day so maybe they face their outings with more of a sense of importance.
The problem, of course, is whether the team can get it going again on demand in the playoffs. I think it depends on the team, the opposition, the pitching matchups, etc.
With the Reds we lived through a horrendous slump early in the season and it's a bit upsetting to see this lack of offense now. The Reds will become more intense in the playoffs, to be sure, but who knows if it will amount to much more offense. We'll see.