The Cincinnati Reds Have Been Fully Eliminated from 2022 Playoff Action, Because Of Course

The fans called it before the season even began.

click to enlarge This is now the Cincinnati Reds' flag of defeat. - Photo: Ron Valle
Photo: Ron Valle
This is now the Cincinnati Reds' flag of defeat.

We knew it was coming.

The Cincinnati Reds were eliminated from all postseason contention after losing a double-header to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 13. This means that the Reds will not compete for a Wild Card spot, will miss the postseason yet again and will have another losing season.

The Pirates beat the Reds 6-1 during the afternoon game, which was rescheduled from April, and 1-0 during the evening match. The Reds' double loss at Great American Ball Park Tuesday comes after the Pirates also won 6-3 on Sept. 12 and the Milwaukee Brewers beat Cincinnati on Sept. 10 and 11. As of press time, the Reds haven't won a game since Sept. 9.

The Reds were eliminated from the National League Central race after the Sept. 10 loss to the Brewers. As of press time, the St. Louis Cardinals and the seemingly immortal Albert Pujols are leading the Brewers in the NL Central by seven games.

Going into the Sept. 14 series finale with the Pirates, the Reds are 56-85 on the 2022 season and are 26.5 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals. Even if the Reds were to win all 21 of their remaining games – a highly unlikely scenario – the team still would be upside down on its record with a win percentage of just .475 at best. Earlier this year, baseball experts had said that the Reds were on pace for a 125-loss season, the lowest for any team since 1900 (thanks, in part, to the franchise's worst start ever). The end result won't be quite that bad, but it won't be pretty either.   Postseason action has been hard to come by for the Reds, who also did not see any postseason play in 2021. During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the Reds made it to the Wild Card playoffs but lost to the Atlanta Braves without scoring at all; before that, Cincinnati hadn't been to the postseason since 2013. The Reds have had just five winning seasons out of the last 21 – er, make that, 22, once 2022 wraps up.

This is what fans had feared when team owners cut payroll and traded prominent players before the season even began and then again at the Aug. 2 trade deadline – yet another "rebuilding season" instead of a playoff run. Fan enthusiasm and trust have been waning since the Reds lost free agents like 2021 All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos and traded away big contributors like Jesse Winker, third baseman Eugenio Suárez and pitcher Sonny Gray. This summer, the team also traded outfielder Tommy Pham, starting pitcher Luis Castillo, outfielder Tyler Naquin, starting pitcher Tyler Mahle and infielder Brandon Drury. Just before the start of the season, Reds owner Bob Castellini said that he wanted to concentrate on developing younger players, and the team has indeed cut payroll. Feeling betrayed and fearing that 2022 would not be a legitimate push for playoff glory, some fans raised more than $4,000 ahead of Opening Day for a billboard urging Castellini to sell the Reds to someone who would invest in winning. That I-75 billboard and fans' growing lack of trust in the team elicited a sharp response from the Reds' chief operating officer – and Bob Castellini's son – Phil Castellini who told 700 AM WLW radio that Cincinnatians essentially just have to deal with it when the team repeatedly refuses to pay for productive veteran players. Phil Castellini later walked back his comments and sent an apology note to Reds staff.

The Cincinnati Reds continue the team's month and some change with the series finale against the Pirates on Sept. 14. The 2022 season-ending game will be against the Chicago Cubs on Oct. 5 at Great American Ball Park.

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