At some point, the tables will turn — the small-market Cincinnati Reds won’t be able to afford to overspend and the Chicago Cubs will be able to do so once again. But until that day comes, the latest version of the Lovable Losers won’t be able to parade enough prospects to compete with even an injury-weakened Reds’ club.
The Reds have owned the Cubs more than the Ricketts family over the past five years, laying waste to one comical rendition of the Cubs after another to the tune of a 58-24 record, which would amount to a 115-47 advantage over the course of a 162-game season.
That nearly 71 percent winning percentage has come honestly — the Reds have been that good and the Cubs have been that bad. And 2014 has brought more of the same, despite the Reds’ fall in fortunes.
The Reds may be looking at their second season under .500 in the past five years, but they’re not trying to avoid a fourth straight season of losing more than 90 games like the Cubs. Even a bad Reds’ team is still much, much better than the current Cubs. Granted, the Cubs are starting to see some benefit from young players and should start to show signs of improvement over the next few years. However, that’s still not going to be enough until the Cubs are able to try to buy their way back into relevance again.
The Reds are 9-4 against the Cubs this year and have six games remaining against the NL Central doormat, but the perennial Reds’ dominance probably won’t be as dramatic as it had been when the Reds won two division titles, or even last year when the Reds finished with a 14-5 mark against the Cubs.
Still, the 2014 Reds might be able to revert to their past winning ways against the Cubs just enough to reel off a sweep in their upcoming three-game series, and if so, regain some footing for a final-month surge to make the second NL Wild Card even more interesting than it promises to be down the stretch.