Ever since the Reds lost the opening series of the season to the Tigers, there was doubt in the air. They kept splitting and losing series after series, whether it was the Cubs or the Royals. A futile and unlucky offense paved the path to what seemed to be a mediocre finish, and a horrific bullpen did nothing to remedy that. Hope was dim, but with the Reds now on a five-game win streak, there seems to be some new life in the team, with the offense and bullpen shining and clicking together at the right time. While this may seem good for the Reds, the true test still awaits them in the form of the White Sox and the Twins. Here is a preview of the endgame for the Reds.
Chicago White Sox
Chicago’s less popular team has surprisingly dominated the MLB this year. Led by a star-studded offense and capable pitching, the White Sox have won 32 games and have only lost 16, holding the first seed in the AL and the first spot in the AL Central. Out of all of the Reds’ series this year, this one has the chance to be the most disastrous. Winning the series is only possible if the offense can perform, which hasn’t been the case this season. Luckily for Cincinnati, it appears as if the Reds won’t face the best part of the Sox rotation for the majority of the series. The Reds will HAVE to fire on all cylinders to even have a chance of taking two of three.
In theory, this is the least difficult series the Reds will have to tackle, but it won’t be easy by any means. The Brewers are just as feisty as the Reds for a playoff spot, and are licking their chops at the possibility of annihilating the Reds unexpectedly. What the Reds must do to counter this is to capitalize on early-inning opportunities, because if they reach the Brewers bullpen with a deficit, it’s pretty much over. The Reds will likely have to face Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff this series, but overall they face the struggling part of the Brewers rotation as it looks now. While some Reds fans may think this series will be easy, the Brewers are definitely not a pushover, considering that they are nearly just as close to the Reds in for a spot in the playoffs.
For the last series of the year, the Reds will duel with the deadly Minnesota Twins at Target Field. This series could easily be disastrous for the Reds, considering that the Twins have had arguably the best lineup in the league the past two seasons. The Twins rotation has largely been yet to be decided, as the series is relatively far away as of now. On the contrary, the lethal bats are something that has been decided, with red-hot DH Nelson Cruz (who is putting up MVP offensive numbers at 40 years old!) leading the way offensively. With the Twins’ formidable band of sluggers, the Reds may be staring directly at a nightmare in Minneapolis.
The Reds have squandered their chance to take advantage of an easy first half, flopping against some of the worst squads in baseball. They’ve forced upon themselves must-win games against some of the hottest teams in baseball. To get themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into, they need to pass the true test and excel against these star-studded teams. While hope may once again be surging in the Queen City, doubt quietly remains in the air as the Redlegs prepare an assault that could just as easily be a success as it could be an abject failure. Time is almost out for this squad; it’s up to them to strike when it matters most.