Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reds feasting on inferior foes this season, struggling against elite

Entering play on Thursday, the Reds had ripped off four wins in a row, and seven wins in their previous eight games, which has allowed them to pull within striking distance of the Pirates and Cardinals atop the National League Central Division standings.

In fact, Cincinnati sat only 3.5 games behind the first-place Pirates Thursday afternoon and just 0.5 game back of the Cardinals for the top Wild Card spot. With six weeks remaining in the regular season, there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, and plenty of opportunities for the Reds to claim their third division title in four years. But in order to do so, Dusty Baker and company will have to start producing victories against elite opponents.

Simply put, the Reds have been absolutely dominant against inferior competition in 2013. Entering the weekend series against Milwaukee, the Reds boasted a sparkling 48-22 record against teams currently sporting a losing record. This includes a 12-3 mark against the lowly Cubs, and a combined 15-1 record against the likes of San Francisco, Miami, and the Mets. As you can see, the Reds have certainly been beating the teams they are expected to beat this year.

On the contrary, Cincinnati has not fared well against teams such as itself. The Reds entered Thursday with an overall tally of 20-30 against teams currently clinging to a winning record. This includes a combined 15-24 mark against the clubs currently in the midst of the National League playoff picture (Arizona, Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh). Obviously, the Reds will have to improve upon this trend moving forward, especially when they get into October.

But for now, Reds fans can breathe easy knowing that their favorite team is taking care of business when it needs to. Furthermore, the remaining schedule appears very favorable to the Reds. 

Outside of this current four-game series against the last place Brewers, the Reds get to play the one team they are fending off for the second Wild Card spot (Diamondbacks) at home for four games next week, before hosting the Brewers again over the weekend. 

After that, they only play six more games on the road all year against teams with a winning record: Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Additionally, the Reds still have to play the Rockies (3X), Cubs (3X), Astros (3X), Mets (3X), and Brewers (10X) several times before now and the end of the season, which judging by Cincy's recent track record, should lead to many more victories than losses.

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