Where things stand, 9/20

NL Central standings

Cardinals 89-64
Pirates 88-65 1 GB
Reds 87-66 2 GB

*The Cardinals magic number to clinch the division over Pittsburgh is 9.
*The Reds magic number to eliminate the Nationals from the 2nd NL Wild Card spot is 5.

*Click here for my story previewing the six of the next nine games between the Reds and Pirates.

*Click here for the playoff tiebreaker rules on MLB.com.

If the season ended today:

NL Wild Card: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
NL Division Series ‘A’: NL Wild Card winner (CIN/PIT) at Atlanta
NL Division Series ‘B’: LA Dodgers at St. Louis


If the Reds go 9-0, they have a decent shot at the top seed in the playoffs. With Dusty calling the shots, we always have a chance.

Only 3.5 games behind Braves. That’s gotten lost in all of this.

I really don’t want to see the Reds play the Dodgers; first go-around. I would much rather see them play Atlanta…after, of course, disposing of the Pirates in a one-game playoff in GABP. The Dodgers will probably dispose of the Cards and then the Reds can take on the Dodgers with exceptional pitching on both sides. Reds have the D over the Blue Crew; hitting is dicey depending on the SP. Gotta love the way the team is coming into the playoffs; Cueto back, Marshall back, Hamilton making pitchers and catchers look semi-pro, Cozart and Frazier hitting a bit better…we be look’n good! This weekend is what it’s all about; meaningful baseball with a lot of money on the line for Castellini. Let’s do him proud boys.

One major concern I have in the next six games against the Pirates is the petty little war that is silently occurring. The war of hitting key batters. Brandon was plunked and had to sit out four games by a Pirate pitcher; the who-plunked-who list is growing considerably and to have a season end do to a key player being taken out by a 95 mile per hour FB is downright cheap and disgusting. I hope they watch that kind of thing over the remaining games.

Here are this weekend’s SP and numbers:
Friday: RH Mat Latos (14-6, 3.14) vs LH Francisco Liriano (16-7, 2.92)
Saturday: RH Homer Bailey (11-10, 3.40) vs RH A.J. Burnett (8-10, 3.45)
Sunday: RHP Bronson Arroyo (13-11, 3.58) vs LHP Jeff Locke (10-5, 3.14)
BTW…the Pirates and Reds have met 13 times this season; a total of 22 players have
been hit.

Subject to change of course, look at that Pittsburgh weather this weekend.

Oh brother…that raises some interesting questions…
9/20 77 degrees chance of rain 40% scattered thunder storms
9/21 68 degrees chance of rain 80% thunder storms
9/22 60 degrees chance of rain 20% partly cloudy
If, in fact, we lose the Saturday game to rain, what would they do?
1) play a double header on Sunday (if no rain)
2) play the make up game this Thursday ahead of their final 3 game series
3) play a double header next weekend at GABP
Seems that #2 would be the most advisable.
The weather may play a very critical role in this end of season drama; clearly
all games must be played before the WC playoff game.

You would think they would go DH on Sunday, but who knows. If they do a DH, that screws up the rotation for the last week. Chaos ensues.

The one game playoff for WC is incredibly important to the Reds and Castellini, as are any future playoff games. GABP has a capacity of 42,271 and the game would obviously be a sell out. The average ticket price at GABP is $20.56; the premium ticket price is $60.23 (data as of end of 2011). Let’s suppose that the ticket prices are accurate, for sake of discussion; understanding that they may have been increased or will be increased for a one game WC game. $20.56 x 42,271, an obvious sell out.
Total revenue for ticket sales: $869,091.76. Then there are the other factors relative to game revenues; TV Rights, concessions, parking and sponsorships. If we presume that a playoff game will generate far north of $1m, playing 2-3 or more games would generate some serious revenues; money that can be used to pay/sign big contracts.
The next six games with the Pirates could mean a substantial amount of coin to Castellini and the Reds.

BTW…2013 attendance will surpass 2003 record.
2003 – 2,355,259
2013 – 2,294,724; through 153 games
With 6 more home games, we are only 60,535 away from a new attendance record.

Well you knew Baker will not play Hamilton. We’ll see how that plays out Ludwick better come through this series or it’s on Baker.

I guess you can give full credit on that win to Dusty Baker.

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