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Column

Respect Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Reds are heading to the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs.

About the time I gave up on them, the Reds went out and won four straight series.

They opened the weekend series against the Twins on Friday night with a win.

As I roamed the home sidelines at H.A. Lynn Stadium, I checked my phone periodically to see how the Reds were doing. I also was scoreboard watching as a few things had to happen Friday for the Reds to clinch before the weekend.

Losses by the Phillies and Brewers earlier in the night set things up for the Reds in a “win and you’re in” scenario. That’s exactly what happened as Mike Moustakas hit a pair of home runs and the Reds won 6-3 behind another solid night from the bullpen.

It’s the first playoff appearance for the Reds since 2013. I was excited and stayed up way too late watching postgame videos on social media.

The Reds’ playoff shirts read “Respect Cincinnati.” I have no idea how well the Reds will do in the postseason. But I imagine with Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray set up to start the first three games, the opponent is not going to be too excited to face the guys in red and white.

Win or lose in the playoffs, the expectation this year was to get there. Every team wants to win it all, but if that doesn’t happen, the Reds can at least boost expectations next year in hopefully a full 162 games.

I hope Bauer returns to Cincinnati. And a full year with Nick Castellanos, Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama will help, too.

Shogo was bad most of the year but had a great September. You could tell his transition from Japan to the MLB was tough but hopefully this last month tells us that’s he’s figured it out.

The only thing we knew before Sunday’s games was Cincinnati won’t be playing the Dodgers in the first round.

The Reds fell behind to the Twins on Sunday. The game went back and forth and the good guys eventually scored three runs in the top of the 10th and won 5-3.

For the first time in a long time, they were able to win a game without the need to homer. They scored five runs without a home run and Gray gave them nearly six innings of one-hit ball.

The Cardinals won on Sunday, too, which moved the Reds down to the No. 7 seed. They will play a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves starting Wednesday.

Speaking of the Cubs, it sounds like Anthony Rizzo had an issue with other teams celebrating after making the postseason.

Since the Cubs expectations, in his words, are to win a World Series — you know that title they’ve won exactly once in 100-plus years — they don’t celebrate just making it the playoffs.

Excuse the Reds, Marlins and Padres for having a little fun. Those teams certainly haven’t been in the playoffs for a while.

The more fun we can have in life the better. I’m not really sure why Rizzo cares about what other teams are doing. Maybe he was asked the question. Maybe his answer was taken out of context.

I just don’t know why it’s an issue at all. Especially coming from a player on a team which literally celebrates every hit the Cubs get with loud, obnoxious cheers from the dugout.

It didn’t look like when we started playing baseball that it would finish. There’s been lots of postponed games due to COVID-19, but the league did a good job after early troubles to get through the season.

I didn’t think the Reds would make the playoffs after getting blown out 16-2 by the Cardinals on Sept. 1. Then they split a four-game series with the lowly Pirates and lost two of three with the Cubs.

Things were dire. Until they weren’t.

Winning streaks are fun. And the Reds had won 10 of 12 before losing to first-place Minnesota on Saturday.

The Reds are in the playoffs because they got hot at the right time and all of the “luck” statistics that come with analytics started turning their way.

Oh and they have three starting pitchers who can shut down any offense on any given day, too. That certainly helps.

Whether they win or lose in the playoffs will depend on how consistent the offense can be.

And with three-game series starting the playoffs, they won’t have time for a cold streak.

Contact Troy Hyde at thyde@shawmedia.com

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