The Cincinnati Reds became the first team in Major League Baseball this season to clinch a spot in the playoffs on Thursday. There are 12 games remaining in the season, but the Reds, at 91-59, have at least a wildcard birth wrapped up. And they can capture the NL Central Division championship for the second time in three years with a Cardinals loss to the Cubs and a Reds win over the Dodgers on Friday. (The Reds’ “magic number” to win the Central is 2.)
Speaking of 91 wins, that’s exactly how many the World Champion Reds had during the regular season in 1990. It’s also how many Cincinnati had two years ago. So, the Reds could lose 12 games to close this season and still have as many regular-season wins as they did during their last trip to the World Series. That illustrates just how amazing this season has been thus far for the Reds. Everyone who follows the team expected them to be good when spring training started many moons ago, but few (if any) expected them to be great.
Now it remains to see if they’ll enter the playoffs as the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NL playoffs. They are battling with the Washington Nationals who also clinched a spot in the playoffs later on Thursday. The Nats are a half-game up on the Reds for the best overall mark in the NL (and in MLB overall). If the Reds and Nats tie record-wise, the Nats will get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs due to their 5-2 record over the Reds during the regular season.
Anyway, what a stunningly-fantastic season and hopefully the ride continues deep into October. And even if it doesn’t, the Reds have made this a memorable year.