Twelve is the magic number the Reds have at the moment to garner the National League Central Division title, and with it their first playoff berth in—guh—15 years! And, with a 7-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds are in a good place..

Cincinnati has not seen the postseason since 1995, when they made it to the NLCS before being swept by the Braves. And the 1995 team and this year’s squad are similar in that they are not overpowering, but are, rather, more efficient than others.

In 1995, despite the season being shortened to 144 games, the Reds had Ron Gant and Reggie Sanders with 29 and 28 home runs, respectively. But no one else had more than 15.

In 2010, Joey Votto has 34 dingers thus far and Jay Bruce has 20, but four others could easily hit the 20-mark before the season ends.

Back then, good ol’ Pete Schourek led the way with 18 wins, and John Smiley added 12, but no one else had more than seven. Of course it’s easy to have low numbers when 13 different pitchers started games for the Reds that season.

This year, Bronson Arroyo has 15 wins so far, Johnny Cueto has 12 (though he should have almost 20), and Mike Leake is next with eight. And just eight pitchers have started for the Reds this year.

The most recent Yahoo! Sports Cincinnati Reds Team Report indicates that Cueto’s “missed win” total this year is at six right now. Those are potential wins that Cueto has missed due to blown saves by reliever Francisco Cordero.


The most recent came this weekend when Cordero squandered a 1-0 ninth inning lead in an eventual 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. Cueto is second in the Majors in that category behind Florida pitcher Josh Johnson, who has seen seven possible wins turned into no-decisions.

And in 1995, ironically, Jeff Brantley—the current radio guy for the Reds—led the bullpen with just 28 saves. No one else had more than five. This year, the go-to guy is Cordero, who has 34, but does his best to see the most batters he possibly can before closing (or coughing up) a game.

It is interesting, though, how Cordero pitches to certain teams.

In that 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh this past Sunday, the hero for the Pirates was outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Said McCutchen about facing Cordero, “I knew what he threw. I’ve faced him a few times. All the pitches were sliders. After you’ve seen it a few times, you recognize it out of his hand. He left it up and I got the good part of the bat on it.”

Well, if that doesn’t make you want to slug Cordero, nothing will.

The pitching staff’s ERA 15 years ago was 4.03, and is now at 4.08 this year, the major difference being that four starters had ERAs under 4.00 15 years ago, but the poor bullpen pushed the team ERA higher. It’s almost the oppositie this year.


Cincinnati beat out Houston for the division in 1995, winning by a full nine games. The Reds lead the Cardinals by seven games right now with 17 to play.


You can compare anything and make assumptions, but my point is that the Reds are doing many of the same things Cincinnati teams have done in the past to be competitive and make the postseason.

It just amazes me at how many times in the recent past this organization has put out teams that could not at least somewhat follow the steps to winning baseball. They instead relied on short-term winning streaks and the hope that other teams would eventually falter. But the other teams never did falter because they stuck to the guidelines of winning baseball.

Luckily, the Reds found and followed those measures this year. I’m just hoping it isn’t lightning in a bottle. I’m having way too much fun to wait another 15 years.

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