Chicago Cubs: Talking Cincinnati Reds as the clubs do battle this weekend

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Could the Reds contend as early as next season?

It sure seems like it’s been a lot longer than five years since the Cincinnati Reds graced the postseason. But, alas, in 2013, the Reds battled the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card game. Woof. Talk about a worst-case scenario matchup if you’re sitting at MLB offices in New York.

As we all know, the Reds lost – and things have trended in the wrong direction since. The club has not won more than 76 games since that season – failing to eclipse 70 wins in any of the last three campaigns. They could (and should) get past that plateau this season. But if you’re measuring success by breaking a .432 winning percentage, that’s not a good sign.

So, given I only pay attention to Cincinnati when they hook up with the Cubs, I had to ask. When will this team be relevant late in the season again?

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"I think the Reds could be legitimate contenders in 2019. Their offense, when healthy is obviously good enough. Not having Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker since virtually the All-Star Break has hurt their offensive production. But, with players like Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, and of late Jose Peraza, likely being part of the Reds for the next several years, they will have more than enough offensive firepower."

Okay, that’s all fine and dandy. Cincinnati ranks second among NL teams in on-base percentage, eighth in OPS and eighth in runs. Things could certainly be worse. But for the Reds, it’s the pitching that needs to take a big step forward.

"The problem for the Reds is and has been, starting pitching. This season, however, has offered a glimmer of hope with players like Anthony DeSclafani and Luis Castillo showing that they can be top of the rotation starters. If the Reds want to be true contenders in 2019, they’ll have to spend some money this offseason on at least one starting pitcher or make a significant trade for a No. 1 starter"

The Reds spend money? I’ll believe it when I see it.