The Cincinnati Reds clinched the playoffs with a win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, September 20, 2012. With 12 games still on the schedule, the Reds have some baseball left to play. What should they be doing over these next few series? Should they dial it back and let the reserves play? Should they be continuing with business as usual so that they don't get out of sync? These are some of the questions that I wonder about as a huge fan of the Reds. The last thing you want is a team falling flat when the playoffs come rolling along.
What can be learned from the teams left on the schedule?
We have games left against the L.A. Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers, Cardinals and Brewers are all in the race for a wild card spot, while the Pirates are on the very edge of contention. All of these teams are potentially teams that we could end up facing if things fall a certain way. This is assuming that we win the National League Central which is a virtual lock with a magic number of two. That said, I think we should play them like we normally would. The information that we might attain would be helpful, but the psychological end of it is the biggest reason. The last thing we need is to get thumped by them and then face them in a few weeks. Go ahead and show them who is boss.
Can the Reds win 100 games in the regular season and should they care?
Sitting on 91 wins with 12 games left to play answers the question of whether or not they can win 100 games or not. As to whether or not they should care, I would say no. It would be cool and all as a fan to be able to toot their horn, but as a team it is not something that they should risk injury to attain. When teams start aiming for statistical goals, they tend to lose focus of the bottom line. Winning is all that matters at this point in the season. Go out and win 100, but do it because you are focused and not because you are obsessed with the idea. 100 wins will not help you one bit in the playoffs.
Should they be playing their regular lineup?
This one is tough to answer because on the one hand, they should stay in sync. On the other hand, why not help mend some of those tired arms and joints? The Reds are going to have a chance to play for the grandest title of all. I think that you can do both if you are careful. Allow guys to take a break but just not at the same time. As for the pitchers, I would say to keep things rolling along. Starting pitchers missing starts can really mess with their minds.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
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