by Kevin Burton
I can’t believe it, the Reds will play in October!
Thanks to the expanded virus-year format (eight teams from each league qualify), the Reds will be in the baseball playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Tell me you saw this coming and I’ll tell you you’re lying.
The last time I wrote about the Reds it was to say my Reds-Royals dream Would Series would have to wait at least one more year (Trying To Get The Baseball Feeling Again, Aug. 30). That proved true, but the Reds at least are somehow still alive. I never dreamed either one of them would make the playoffs.
“They were left for dead when September began,” wrote longtime Dayton Daily News Reds beat writer Hal McCoy. “The Reds were given a 13 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason and many felt they should fold their hands and toss in the cards.”
“And now it is 100 percent.”
I turned to a Reds fans page on Facebook Friday to see the postseason possibilities, then steeled myself for a weekend of scoreboard watching and pacing. But that wasn’t necessary. Everything fell into place that night. Tampa beat the Phillies, Milwaukee lost game two of their doubleheader against St. Louis. After that all that was needed was a Reds win over Minnesota.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Twins brought the go-ahead run to the plate with one out. But Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias got out of the inning with a strike out and flyout.
The Reds added three insurance runs in the ninth to seal the deal.
As improbable as this Reds run, the fact that I did not wake my wife up during my playoff celebration. (I waited until Saturday morning to have Alexa play “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.)
Not sure why I am so excited. The Reds are more the team of my youth than team of my right now. I don’t know most of the current players. They are like the grandchildren of the ones I know and love.
Well I know Moose, Mike Moustakas, who was a big part of the 2015 Royals World Champion team. He homered to lead off the ninth Friday to account for one of the insurance runs. It was his second home run of the game. The Reds brought him in as a free agent this year for his leadership and his bat. They have profited from both.
And I know Joey Votto, everybody knows Votto, a future hall of famer who could be seeing his final postseason.
Let’s hope their playoff run is long enough that I and baseball fans in general will get to know these Reds.
The Reds’ playoff run begins Wednesday on the road. As I write this it has not yet been determined who they will play. Today is the last day of the regular season. Playoff pairings will be set by the end of today unless St. Louis needs to play a makeup doubleheader tomorrow against Detroit.
If that picture isn’t crystal clear to you, well it’s not to me either. This much I know, Cincinnati is breathing easy.
Reds ace Trevor Bauer was going to pitch on three days’ rest today. I trust he will not do that now since they have clinched already.
To me it doesn’t matter who the Reds play. After seven years, it’s just good to have them in. The players aren’t thinking that way though. Cincy has just enough players with postseason experience to make them dangerous. They have won 11 of their last 15 games after losing to the Twins Saturday.
It would be nice to have some kind of extended playoff run this year since Bauer almost certainly will be heading to some larger market as a free agent next year.
After the Friday game ended, Reds players slipped on t-shirts that read “Respect Cincinnati.” They are hottest team going into the postseason. Pity the team that fails to respect them.