Shohei Ohtani, the favorite for American League MVP, is the first player who also pitches ever nominated as a finalist for the Hank Aaron Award, which is given to the best offensive player in each league.
October isn't in the cards, but there's still plenty of work to do. Here's what each non-playoff team needs to ask itself first.
— Bryan Reynolds had four hits, raising his batting average above .300, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates rally from a five-run deficit and beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 on Saturday night.
Who is rising and falling with the end of the season mere days away?
— Pittsburgh second baseman Cole Tucker made a spectacular diving catch, then hit his first career grand slam to cap an eight-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 on Friday night.
— Carlos Rodón made the most of the stuff he had. That was enough for manager Tony La Russa.
Yes, there's still a month of playoff baseball before the offseason begins. But we couldn't wait to look ahead at one of the deepest classes in years.
— Luis Robert homered twice, Reynaldo Lopez pitched two-hit ball over a season-high six innings and the Chicago White Sox beat Cincinnati 7-1 Tuesday night as the Reds were eliminated from postseason contention.
— Joey Votto homered twice and drove in four runs, and the Cincinnati Reds pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-1 on Wednesday to stay alive in the race for the second NL wild card.
— Tyler Stephenson and Nick Castellanos hit consecutive home runs, Kyle Farmer broke open the game with a grand slam and the Cincinnati Reds kept alive their slim playoff hopes by routing the Washington Nationals 9-2 Sunday.
— Nick Castellanos hit a solo home run with one out in the ninth inning and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Saturday night.
— Aristides Aquino drove in TJ Friedl with a game-ending single off the glove of second baseman Luis Garcia, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Washington Nationals 8-7 in 11 innings Friday night.
— National League batting leader Juan Soto homered in consecutive innings, and the Washington Nationals pushed the Cincinnati Reds further from playoff contention with a 3-2 win Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.
Who is rising and falling as the end of the season rapidly approaches?
Manager David Bell has received a two-year extension from the Reds that runs through the 2023 season.
Which up-and-comers have jumped onto Kiley McDaniel's radar in 2021?
— Ben Gamel homered, Ke'Bryan Hayes had three hits and the Pittsburgh Pirates dampened the Cincinnati Reds' dwindling postseason hopes with a 6-2 win Tuesday night.
— Joey Votto tied the game with his second homer of the night, Eugenio Suarez followed with a go-ahead shot and the Cincinnati Reds rallied from a five-run deficit for a 9-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Tristan H. Cockcroft ESPN Senior Writer
For those of you in the planning-ahead stage in your fantasy baseball playoffs/title push, be aware: The Cincinnati Reds have by far the best Forecaster-graded remaining schedule for hitters (PIT-3, WSH-4, @CWS-2, @PIT-3).
Clayton Kershaw pitched five sharp innings for his first win since June 27, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager each hit two-run homers and the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers beat the sliding Cincinnati Reds 8-5 Sunday.
— Max Scherzer pitched seven shutout innings in another dominant performance for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who kept up their push in the NL West with a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
— Luis Castillo struck out 10 while outpitching Walker Buehler, Kyle Farmer doubled twice against his former team and the Cincinnati Reds snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers’ six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory Friday night.
— Cincinnati Reds reliever Mychal Givens has been around long enough to understand the rhythms of a season.
Which squads are rising and falling as teams start punching their postseason tickets?
— Wilmer Difo scored on a groundout from Colin Moran with one out in the ninth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Cincinnati Reds a seventh loss in nine games with a 5-4 win Wednesday night.