Sweet mother of pearl, the Reds are actually going to the playoffs

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce celebrates hitting a home run against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Cincinnati, Ohio September 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Matt Sullivan  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

For years, MLB writers have had it easy when it came to making season predictions for the Reds.

4. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have loads of young talent and one day, it’ll all come together. But this is still the Reds – they’ll find a way to finish in the middle of the pack. It’s been 10 years since the last time they made the playoffs, so bank on them missing out again.

Rinse and repeat.

But that, “one day, it’ll all come together” part is happening right now.

Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run in the 9th inning off Astros’ reliever Tim Byrdak on Tuesday as the Reds beat Houston 3-2 to win the NL Central for the first time in over a decade. The win also guarantees that they’ll be heading to the postseason for the first time in 15 years.

There’s no rest for the weary, however, as the Reds are in a battle with the Giants (and maybe the Padres if they can get their act together) for home field advantage in the NLDS. The Phillies have run away with the top seed in the NL, but home field advantage would obviously be huge for Cincinnati, as it would be for all clubs.

If the playoffs were to start today, the Phillies would have the top seed, followed by the Giants, then the Reds, then the Wildcard-winning Braves. Since the Braves and Phillies can’t play each other in the first round, Cincinnati would play Philadelphia and San Francisco would host Atlanta.

Teams aren’t going to back down from any opponent at this point in the year, but avoiding the Phillies would still be beneficial. Thus, the Reds need to finish strong and secure that second spot.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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