The Reds opened a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday with a doubleheader at Great American Ball Park. Sweeping the Pirates (14-30), who have the worst record in baseball, would put the Reds right back in contention.
Of course, the schedule ahead makes staying in contention difficult for the Reds. They play three games in Cincinnati this weekend against the Chicago White Sox (30-16), who have the second-best record in baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (33-14).
The Reds then play three games at home against the Milwaukee Brewers (20-24) before ending the season on the road against the Minnesota Twins (30-18), one of five teams in baseball with 30 or more victories.
Even if the Reds do manage to get back to .500 by the end of the season, there’s no guarantee a 30-30 record will get them to the playoffs. The Rockies (21-25), Brewers and Mets (21-26) all are also competing for the final spot, trying to catch the Philadelphia Phillies (23-22) and San Francisco Giants (23-24).
“There’s crazier things that have happened,” Bradley said. “With eight teams making it, I feel really good about this team’s attitude and the way we feel going into these last 14 games.”
NOTES: Nick Senzel returned from the injured list and started in center field in the first game of the doubleheader Monday. He had been on the injured list since Aug. 19 for an undisclosed reason. ... The Reds put reliever Tyler Thornburg on the 45-day injured list with a right elbow strain and removed reliever Matt Bowman (right elbow strain) from the 60-man player pool.