Aces Zack Greinke and Mat Latos met today in what may very well have been a postseason preview between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. Both starters struggled early, but managed to get things under control in what could have been an October showdown if not for the sunny, 85-degree weather. In the end, the Reds outlasted the Dodgers for a 4-3 win in 10 innings.
Dodgers Rookie Yasiel Puig crushed his 15th home run of the year in the second as he continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year honors, but it wasn’t enough as the Reds won an all-important game against an opponent that, if they play well in September, they will meet again in October when the stakes are even higher.
This afternoon’s game meant a lot more to the Reds than the Dodgers. Los Angeles enjoys a 12-game lead in the NL West, but Cincinnati is in a three-way battle with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates for control of the NL Central.
The Reds have an eight-game advantage in the NL Wild Card race, but with how close their division is, that Wild Card spot could disappear quickly if the Reds lose only a few games and their division rivals go on winning streaks.
Cincinnati has played well this year, so it will mostly be a matter of riding out September and retaining their Wild Card spot. But losing streak of just a few games could be fatal, so they must still take every game seriously. The Reds have a strong pitching staff and a lineup of solid hitters, so their fans should be optimistic about their postseason chances.
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