St. Louis Cardinals: This weekend could be the final straw for the Reds
By Matt Graves
The St. Louis Cardinals have beat down the Reds this year and with two weeks left in the season, winning this weekend’s series could end their hopes for the playoffs.
This year has not gone anywhere close to how the Cincinnati Reds thought it would go. They aren’t alone either. Around the league, almost every team believed the Reds would be near the top of the NL Central. At the very least, experts were convinced they would finish ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, here we are on September 11 and the Reds are 19-25. They have just 16 games left to play and are 6.5 games back of the Cubs and 3.0 games back of the Cardinals.
It has been a weird season for the Reds at the plate. Joey Votto and Matt Carpenter look eerily similar on the stat sheet, and the only Reds with better than an .800 OPS are Jessie Winker and Nicholas Castellanos.
Outside of Trevor Bauer and his sub-2.00 ERA, their rotation has not been awful, but it seems their defense has really been a source of their issues. You can tell that just by looking at the FIPs of their pitchers. Most of the Reds’ arms have FIPs lower than their actual ERAs. FIP isn’t everything, but when there is a trend like that, something bigger is going on.
By FanGraphs’ Def metric, the Reds have the sixth-worst defense in baseball and they rank 20th in baseball in UZR.
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Last year, the Reds probably should’ve won more games. By Pythagorean win-loss percentage, the 2019 Reds who won just 75 games should’ve won 80. This year, that claim can’t be made. The Reds’ -27 run differential puts their Pythagorean win-loss right in line with their 19-25 record.
Things are bad in Cincy, and the Cardinals haven’t helped.
The last time the Cardinals played the Reds, they proved their superiority over them, stretching their record against them to 5-2. Now, the Reds are coming to St. Louis for their final three clashes of 2020.
This is do or die territory for the Reds, and they know it. The Cardinals are going to have some hard-fought baseball on their hands this weekend. Lucky for the Cards, they won’t have to face the red-hot Trevor Bauer.
The Reds are currently sitting at a 9.8% chance to make the playoffs and they have to go through the Cardinals to have any hope. Realistically, they have to win two of three to keep any hope alive. Based on how every other series has gone, that isn’t what is going to happen.
The Cardinals could stomp out any hope Reds fans have for the postseason this weekend. Even winning two out of the three games would do it. Right now, the Reds need to find a way to get hot fast. As for 2021 and beyond, the Reds have a whole other host of things to worry about after how this season has gone.