The Cincinnati Reds are tied for the second-worst record (6-14) in the National League in the last 20 games, and the stretch has cost them a role as the favorite to win the second wild card.
A second straight loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4 on Wednesday, means the Reds (75-71) will lose their seventh straight series. They have to win Thursday afternoon to avoid being swept for the first time since they lost three straight to the Brewers in the first series after the All-Star break.
The Reds’ latest loss, coupled with victories by the St. Louis Cardinals (76-69) and San Diego Padres (75-70), means the Reds trail the Cardinals by 1½ games and the Padres by a half game in the wild-card race.
The Cardinals now have the best odds (41.4) of winning the wild card, according to FanGraphs.com, with the (28.4 percent) and Reds (22.4 percent) trailing them.
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The Reds and Cardinals have 16 games remaining. The Padres have 17 games to play. The Padres and Cardinals start a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday.
Here’s how their schedules compare:
• Reds: Sept. 16, at Pirates (54-91); Sept. 17-19, vs. Dodgers (94-53); Sept. 20-22, vs. Pirates; Sept. 23-26, vs. Washington Nationals (60-86); Sept. 28-29, at Chicago White Sox (83-62); Oct. 1-3, at Pirates.
• Padres: Sept. 16, at San Francisco Giants (95-51); Sept. 17-19, at Cardinals; Sept. 21-23, vs. Giants; Sept. 24-26, vs. Atlanta Braves (76-68); Sept. 28-30, at Dodgers; Oct. 1-3, at Giants.
• Cardinals: Sept. 17-19, vs. Padres; Sept. 20-23, at Milwaukee Brewers (89-57); Sept. 24-26, at Chicago Cubs (66-80); Sept. 28-30, vs. Milwaukee; Oct. 1-3, vs. Cubs.
The winner of the second wild-card will play on the road against the Giants or Dodgers, whoever doesn’t win the West Division, on Oct. 6. That game will air on TBS.
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