Reds have tough math behind Cardinals

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Cincinnati Reds are four back in the loss column behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final National League wild-card spot. 

Not only do the Reds need to start sweeping series with 12 games remaining, but they'll need help from the Cardinals' opponents. The Cardinals entered Monday with 14 games left: seven against the Milwaukee Brewers and seven against the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis has won eight consecutive games. 

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman (23) speaks with Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) with a runner on first and third in the ninth inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

If the Cardinals finish 7-7 in their final 14 games, the Reds need to close the season with a 9-3 record in their last 12 games just to force a Game 163 tiebreaker. The Cardinals' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 11. 

The Reds could run the table, winning their next 12 games, and still miss the playoffs if the Cardinals post an 11-3 record. The Reds will play six games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, four versus the Washington Nationals and two games against the Chicago White Sox. 

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