CINCINNATI -- By taking a 6-3 loss to the Brewers on Friday night while giving up five home runs, the Reds were mathematically eliminated from postseason play.
This was long expected, considering the 74-77 Reds have trailed by wide margins in both the National League Central and Wild Card races. But this day of reckoning comes rather early -- with 11 games left in the season. It was a steep drop from the heights reached last season, when Cincinnati won 91 games to claim the NL Central title and end a 15-year playoff drought.
"It is what it is," Reds manager Dusty Baker said after Friday's game. "You've still got to play. You've got games on the schedule. You play them to win. It's just disheartening to see all those balls go over the fence like that."
Elimination from the division race had already come on Tuesday. The Wild Card-leading Braves lost to the Mets on Friday, but the Reds' defeat moved that elimination number from one to zero.
The Reds spent the first 22 days of the season in first place and 28 overall. They fell out of first place for good on May 19 following the second loss in the midst of a six-game losing streak and eight losses in nine games. They were never better than a third-place team after May 24, but they remained in the hunt well into the summer.
When the Reds opened the second half with a win over the then first-place Cardinals, they were only three games away from the top spot. But Milwaukee caught fire in late July, winning a stretch of 23 out of 26 games and finished August with a 21-7 record. That essentially dashed all hope of the Reds getting back into the race. The Brewers' win put them 14 games ahead of the third-place Reds.