Hmm…two months to go and the Reds haven’t faded and have not given any signs of faltering or disappearing. Yes, two months is still a relatively long time and the naysayers will tell you Cincinnati will show their true colors when it gets to crunch time.

I say keep doubting, keep brushing them aside and do your best to pretend that they don’t know what they are doing.

The Reds are 14 games over the .500 mark for the first time since 1999, that’s 11 years ago for you non-math majors. How long ago was 11 years, well, I’m not going to make everyone feel old, but just subtract that number from your age right now and remember what you were doing at the time. Its scary. (I was 23, a year out of undergrad from Morehead State University and working in Public Radio in Evansville, Indiana)

Cincinnati has posted winning marks in every month which includes 12-11 in April, 18-11 in May, 14-13 in June and 14-12 in July. At the moment they are 4-1 in August. The dog days of summer tend to weed out the pretenders and the Reds have not succumbed. They are 10 games over at home, four games over on the road and are playing their best baseball right now.

The pitching has far exceeded expectations, the hitting (despite a power outage that seems to show up once every two weeks) has been consistent and clutch, and the bullpen has been better than average (not great, but definitely okay).

What has impressed me the most has been the defense with Scott Rolen leading the charge. I was able to listen to Friday’s game in Chicago and you could hear the impression Rolen and company had on Marty and his cohorts on the broadcast.

Furthermore, my brother is in the Windy City for the weekend and sat 10 rows from field level on Friday. He was just as impressed, if not more, by the defense he witnessed with his own eyes. So it just wasn’t Marty over-hyping or going over board.

On the phone, you could hear some of the jeers of frustration from Cubs fans sitting around my brother during the game. I hate to say it, but I know their feelings all too well. Fortunately, that’s not this year.

The Yahoo!Sports Cincinnati Reds Team Page had some comments from starter Bronson Arroyo on Rolen’s efforts on Friday. “That’s why (Rolen’s) so good down there,” pitcher Arroyo said. “You look at box score and you don’t see it show up. That kind of stuff right there, especially Castro from his knees, that changes the whole inning. I’m going through the meat of the order. That’s why our record is so (darn) good with him in the lineup.”

Rolen’s efforts include a diving stab and throw from his knees that nailed Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro at first and then charging a ball by Derrek Lee, backhanding it and throwing him out as well. That doesn’t include several fine plays by Janish, Phillips, Cordero and others.

At 62-48, the Reds have 52 contests left to play and have a half game lead on the Cards. Also, the Wild-Card race is just as tight with San Fransisco, Philadelphia and St. Louis within a game and half of one another. Colorado and Los Angeles are still in the thick of things depending on how well they play over the next few weeks.

Barring major injuries, Cincinnati will be in the midst of the crowded playoff picture till the end.

What will the Reds need to do to help their chances?

Bring in Aroldis Chapman and allow him to test the waters and get some big league experience? Allow Sam LeCure or another of the young impressive arms in the minors to spell Mike Leake now and then to avoid over working Leake’s tremendous upside? Find a talented bat to aid the offensive onslaught? Move Harang to the bullpen? Find some way to get something out of, or for, the ever dwindling presence of Homer Bailey?

We will have to see.

Hello, baseball? Remember the Reds? Yeah, they’re still here.

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