MLB Cincinnati Reds

Return of Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips Can Only Help Cincinnati Reds

Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Curry — USA TODAY Sports

The official countdown to football season hasn’t started yet in the Queen City, but the Cincinnati Reds are barely hanging on.

That’s why the return of players like Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips has been vital to the Reds’ chances to stay in the playoff hunt. Phillips was back in the lineup a few days ago, and Frazier returned to the roster on Monday. Is it enough to save the season?

It is looking more and more like the Reds are dropping out of the playoff picture. Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals put the Reds 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot, and the Reds would have to make up ground on the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins in order to catch up.

The good news for the Reds? After this series with the Cardinals concludes, Cincinnati has a four-game series against Atlanta. The team has no games left against Miami, but Cincinnati and Pittsburgh meet six more times before the regular season concludes.

While the Reds are not out of it, a few more losses will sting the Reds further. That’s why the Reds need players like Frazier and Phillips to warm up their bats and help the pitching staff do its job.

Frazier had two hits Tuesday, including a home run, to raise his batting average to .284. It is one of the highest averages on the team and a prime reason why the Reds aren’t worrying at all about third base.

Phillips is at .269, and the club welcomed his return. While Kris Negron did a decent job keeping second base warm, the club needs Phillips to come through and anchor the middle infield.

This has not been the luckiest of seasons for Cincinnati. Injuries to Phillips and Joey Votto, not to mention separate disabled-list stints for some of the starting pitchers, dulled the momentum before things even warmed up.

Cincinnati needs some good fortune in terms of wins and a little luck if other teams lose. Otherwise the Cincinnati Bengals will take over the landscape fairly quickly.