So close to first place this late in season, Reds in rare territory

It’s the closest they’ve been to first place this far into the season since 2012

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

The Cincinnati Reds, winners of five straight games, gained ground in the National League Central Division on their off day Thursday.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates (34-33) losing 7-2 to the Chicago Cubs (31-37), the Reds (34-35) moved within one game of first place entering the opener of a three-game series on the road against the Houston Astros (39-30) on Friday. The Reds have made up four games in the last week.

The Milwaukee Brewers (34-34), who were also idle Thursday, moved within a half game of the Pirates.

When was the last time the Reds were this close to first place this far into the season?

That would be the 2012 season, the last time they won the division. Eleven years ago, the Reds had a four-game lead in the division on June 16 and won the division by nine games with a 97-65 mark.

That was the Reds’ third NL Central championship since 1995. The Brewers also have three titles. The Cubs have won the division six times. The Astros won the division four times before moving to the American League West in 2013. The Cardinals own 12 championships. The Pirates have never won the division.

Here’s how the Reds have fared in the division race since 2012:

• 2013: The Reds were 2½ games back on June 16 and never got closer than 1½ games in the second half of the season. They lost their last five games and finished seven games out of first. They won the second wild card with a 90-72 record.

• 2014: The Reds trailed the division leader by eight games on this date and got as close as 1½ games in July before fading and finished 14 games out of first with a 76-86 mark.

• 2015: The Reds trailed by 10 or more games from May 25 on and finished 36 games out of first with a 64-98 record.

• 2016: The Reds were 19½ games out of first place on June 16 and finished 35½ games back with a 68-94 record.

* 2017: The Reds finished 68-94 for the second straight season. They were 6½ games back on June 16 and finished 24 games out of first.

• 2018: With a 67-96 mark, the Reds finished last for the fourth straight season. They fell 10 games back with a 3-18 start and were 28 games back at the end of the season.

• 2019: The Reds improved to 75-87 to escape last place and finish fourth in the five-team division. They were eight games back on June 16 and finished 16 games out of first.

• 2020: In the 60-game pandemic season, the Reds finished three games out of first with a 31-29 record and won a wild-card berth in the expanded playoffs.

• 2021: The Reds were only two out of first place on June 16 but lost their next five games. They finished 12 games out of first with an 83-79 record.

2022: The Reds fell 13½ games behind with a 3-21 start. They were 31 games back at the end of the season with a 62-100 record.


Reds at Astros, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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