Record Against: 3-4
Run Margin: -1
Top Players: Joey Votto (1B), Shin-Soo Choo (CF), Jay Bruce (RF), Brandon Phillips (2B), Mat Latos (RHP), Homer Bailey (RHP), Mike Leake (RHP), Bronson Arroyo (RHP), Aroldis Chapman (CL), Sam LeCure (RP)
They’re not quite the Big Red Machine of the ‘70s, but the Reds (82-64) have become a well-oiled machine in their own right.
They can do damage with their sticks and dominate with their flame-throwing pitching staff and have the experience of toothpick-chewing manager Dusty Baker on their side.
Above all, the Reds are hungry for postseason success, as they’ve fallen short in the NLDS in consecutive seasons after making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years in 2010.
The Reds are always a dangerous team for the Dodgers to face because of their widespread talent. However, if the Dodgers can get to the Reds early in the game and avoid facing their infamous triple-digit-registering closer Aroldis Chapman, then they’ll give them a run for their money.
Still, the Reds just handed the Dodgers their first series loss by sweep since early May, nabbing three one-run games from the Blue Crew, which is concerning given the typical close-scoring games of October.
Prediction: As the standings are right now, the Reds will finish in the NL’s second wild-card position and will play the Pittsburgh Pirates in a one-game playoff. Should the Dodgers face the Reds in the NLCS—or NLDS, if the Dodgers can nab the top spot in the NL—they would win in a hard-fought five or seven games. Although the Reds are a strong team, they lack the continuity that can propel them past the surging Dodgers.