We paid for playoff tickets the other day, so we now have a financial interest in the pennant race. (Although if the Reds blew it, it would certainly save me a ton of money.) After 133 games, the Reds sit at 78-55, 23 games over .500 (a .586 mark) and a remarkable 8 games ahead of the second-place Cards. Using the standard "if we go .500 the rest of the way" line, the Reds would finish 93-69. (A 15-14 to finish; I gave them the benefit of the doubt.) To tie and force a playoff with the Reds, the Cards would have to finish up 24-7, an unlikely .774 pace. The Reds' magic number sits at 23.
Might it be time to start thinking about things like home field advantage rather than whether or not we win the division? The answer to that is, "check back next Friday when the Reds come home to play Pittsburgh." With three in St. Louis this weekend and four more in Colorado next week, the Reds can put it away. Or, they can make it a race again. But I don't think they can lose it. Everyone assumed the three game sweep of the Reds by the Cards last month would be it for the Reds, but they bounced back. So even a tough road trip won't count us out. But a winning trip probably seals the deal.