With a heartbreaking loss on Sunday to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cincinnati Reds are 3.5 games behind the tied due of Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals for first in the National League Central. They might want to consider that out of reach if they also consider themselves out of reach for the Washington Nationals who are now 4.5 games behind them for the second wildcard spot. A couple of crucial things are coming soon for the Reds however that will determine their entire season.
First of all is the return of staff ace Johnny Cueto. The Reds need Cueto back but they need him back firing shutout innings. If he shows up well enough then the Reds might be able to stand tall during their other huge thing that is coming up; two crucial series versus the Pirates. Depending on what the Cardinals do, those two series will determine who wins the N.L. Central and who settles for the wildcard. Meanwhile if the Reds do not do enough to win a few more games they might be dealing with the Nats much closer than they would like to be.
Obviously having their ace Cueto back at full strength will be huge during both of these series and actually could determine wins and losses that could determine the Reds’ fate. It isn’t overstretching to say that the effect of Cueto’s return, especially after such a heartbreaking loss as Sunday’s, could mean the entire season for them. I guess it is a good thing he is their ace.