Who dey think gonna beat demReds? In the past, no matter how much it pained me to say it, I would have to say most teams. Luckily, this year Cincinnati is running their way towards a winning season, playoff berth contention, and possible division title.

And when I say “running,” I mean it literally.

A quick once over on some old stats was an eye opener for me, but it made a ton of sense. When Cincy is swiping bases, they win games. When they don’t focus on it, they don’t. For example, in the last four winning seasons for the Reds they averaged 154 stole bases. In the last four miserable seasons the Reds averaged a meager 76.

If you scroll back the last 10 years, the only times Cincinnati was consider a running team was 2001 and 2002. The stolen base average in those seasons was 116, but they had to run in those years. The pitching was horrible. There was no way they were going to win with the likes of Chris Reitsma, Elmer Dessens, Lance Davis, Osvaldo Fernandez, Jim Brower, Joey Hamilton, and Jose Acevedo as part of their starting five.

The last your winning seasons, or non-losing seasons, were 1995, 1996, 1999, and 2000. Cincinnati won 85, 81, 85, and 96 games in those correlating years.

As for this year, after 79 games the Reds have stolen 53 bags. They are on pace for taking over 100 bases, which is one of the reasons why Cincinnati has such a productive offense. You get on base and force opposing pitchers to not only focus on the batter, but focus on the guy who is slowly but surely inching his way towards second or third base.

It also helps the Reds have batters who understand they don’t have to get an actual hit each time, but do have to see if they can move guys along base paths at the very least. And with a long, hot summer you have to take advantage of the chances and the weather are given to you.

“Good hitting weather. You’ve just got to put the elements out of your mind. This is when the strong survive—the strong-minded, the strong-willed,” manager Dusty Baker said after last Saturday’s contest which started with the temperature at 85 degrees and the heat index at 95.

Speaking of keeping things on a roll, did you know the Reds and St. Louis Cardinals set a Major League record this week? The teams have been trading places atop the National League Central for the past two months or so, but for the last 30 days neither team has had a lead of more than two games. That’s the longest period of time in MLB history two teams atop a division have been separated by no more then two games, interesting.

Finally, I heard some discussion on ESPN Radio the this week about the Reds possibly making some moves to improve their chances down the road. Keith Law thought the Reds, with their youth talent movement, may need to go get someone but shouldn’t go overboard with what they offer. With this being the first time in a long time the Reds have seen the results of playing well and focusing on baseball, if they keep the majority of the talent in house they could see a run like this for the next four to five years.

Sure they may need to go get someone, but giving up one prospect (two at the most) and paying cash for that extra help is what they should do, according to Law. I think I have to agree with him. You don’t to lose all the pieces you’ve put together in one fell swoop and then not have much left to try make a run the next year. Makes sense to me.

And speaking of youth, Travis Wood is being brought up this week as Daniel Ray Herrera was sent back to Louisville. Wood will make his debut against the Cubs on Thursday (July 1).

If you don’t remember, Mike Leake nudged Wood out for the fifth starter’s spot after spring training. We’ll see what happens.

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