If the standings hold up, the Cincinnati Reds will have to travel to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in a one-game playoff to determine the Wild Card winner for the postseason. While being on the road would put them at a disadvantage, the Reds do boast a very solid pitching staff. Aroldis Chapman has led the bullpen with 38 saves and a 2.54 ERA, and all five starters in the rotation have an ERA under 3.60.
The standard numbers are there: fourth in ERA (3.35), first in WHIP (1.17) and first BAA (.235). But let’s take it a step further: the Reds have the staff to make a postseason run in terms of sabermetrics as well.
The Reds have the best opponent’s batting average of balls in play (BABIP) at .273. This number is a combination of good fielding as well as a little luck, but the Reds do not give up a ton of hits and this is the number to prove it.
They are also fifth in baseball in walk percentage at 7.2 percent. The 1.17 WHIP shows that they don’t surrender a lot of baserunners, but when you combine it with the fact that they do not walk anyone, it further increases their chances of putting together strong pitching performances throughout the postseason.
If the Reds can continue to keep their BABIP low, there is no reason to think they can’t compete for a World Series, especially when guys are putting the ball in play and they are getting outs.