Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds clinch playoff berths

The first two teams in baseball to clinch playoffs spots for the 2012 season are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.

The Reds beat the Cubs 5-3 according to ESPN, cutting their magic number to clinch the NL Central to just two.

The Reds took six shutout innings from Johnny Cueto and a five-run rally in the seventh to sweep the Cubs.  Manager Dusty Baker was still missing after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

Washington defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 to clinch D.C.’s first playoff berth since 1933, according to The Washington Times.  The Nationals currently hold a 5 ½ game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

The loss on Thursday dropped the Dodgers to three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who currently sit in the last wild card spot.

This is only the second playoff berth for the franchise that moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005.  The Expos were one game away from the World Series in 1981.  The Nationals have not had a winning season before this year, according to ESPN, and had never finished above third in the NL East.

The Nationals’ magic number to clinch the NL East is eight.

Categories: Baseball