If history repeats itself, the Cincinnati Reds may not win a playoff series for another 20 years. Advancing to the postseason three out of the last four years has been a solid accomplishment for a team that hadn’t had a winning season for nine years before the 2010 season, but the Reds just haven’t been able to finish enough of a job to win a postseason series for the first time since 1995.
The 2012 season may have been the Reds’ last best chance to advance in the postseason for the foreseeable future. After winning the first two games of the 2012 NL division series in San Francisco against the San Francisco Giants, all the Reds had to do was win one of three at home to advance to the league championship series for a crack at their first World Series since 1990.
But the Giants had other plans and swept the Reds in Cincinnati.
The Reds got some measure of revenge against the Giants last year in Cincinnati with a three-game sweep that featured a no-hitter by Homer Bailey. The Reds had started that series 10 games over .500, and the series sweep put them on a second-half course to vie for the NL Central title and a Wild Card berth.
This year is different. The Reds still owe the Giants payback that can never be fully repaid unless it’s in the playoffs, but some satisfaction for the Reds is attainable if they can repeat last year’s three-game sweep of the Giants starting Tuesday when the two teams meet for a series opener that pits the starters from last year’s no-hitter game: Bailey and Tim Lincecum.
The Reds carry some momentum heading into the series with four wins in their last five games. Even so, a sweep may not carry the same kind of importance as it did last year since the Reds would need a sweep to reach .500 for just the third time this year.
But a sweep would go a long way to bolster a struggling team with a past that’s once again looking brighter than its future.