Red Reposter - Start Booking Accommodations for World Series LXVXXVMLII

Red Reposter Count-er Culture, made possible by the good folks at The Divine Idiot Second-hand Food Shop and Bong Repair, The Divine Idiot: "Let's all just take it easy": 1 (Teams that have completed back-to-back-to-back complete game shutouts since 2000. Source: BBRef. This is also the number of games the Reds trail division-leading Cardinals.)

Hall o' Famer Hal asks, "Could this be year Reds make trek back to playoffs?"
Ummm... maybe? It's an increasingly valid question, if premature and born of wishful thinking.  The Reposter cautions fans to temper their optimism after a series sweep of the lowly Pirates, but there is a lot of room for growth after a somewhat disappointing April, especially in the starting pitching and outfield offense departments. While the offense is likely to remain uneven and streaky, the Reds are starting to draw notice from the ESPN fundits. Catching a brief whiff of a SportsCenter story on the Reds recent pitching performances, I was reminded that the Reds have several rare commodities: young, still improving starting pitchers with serious upside, two offensively productive catchers and a generally solid bullpen.

Homer Bailey is just one of the Reds' starters to show flashes of a Platonic self
Homer's 90-pitch, four hit shutout was a stirring reminder of how brilliant he can be. Homer credits Hanigan for helping him "pound the zone" (But what about the baseball game?)  Homer's young career has been marked by flashes of dominance interspersed with rough, 7.00 ERA patches. CNATI has this reality check:

Last season Bailey had a brilliant run to end the season, going 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his final nine starts of the season. Four of those starts were against Pittsburgh, with him going 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA against the Pirates.

Followed by a return to unbridled optimism:

The Reds have now won five in a row and 12 of their last 16.

It's a big weekend for baseball in Cincinnati
The Reds open a scheduling-quirk-induced five-game homestand against the Cardinals and Brewers, trailing in the NL Central by just a game. The Cardinals series will be centerpieced by Saturday's Civil Rights Game.

Jamie Ramsey posted a nice set of isometric views of PNC
To further nyc's Cold War theme, these look like they were shot from a U2. Better Off Red often has some whimsical, insider content and shots off the beaten wire service path.

The Reds Central News Agency (reds.com) says Bruce is improving against lefties
His splits are still jagged, but Bruce is hitting lefties better than last year. Meanwhile, his OBP has quietly climbed up above .350. Things are happening.

Hal throws the Reds series against the Cards into relief
calling it an "acid test." So if Johnny Cueto had taken half a tab, he could have had a perfect game? Let me just warn the Reds against using the hallucinogenics to enhance performance. The webpage http://www.urban75.com/Drugs/drugacid.html says: "During the course of a trip, the entire universe can turn wibbly." Is that what you want? Maybe it is.  I guess I should actually read Hal's article, especially if the "acid test" he's referring to is testing the use of acid while writing his Reds diary. If there's one thing the Reds press corps needs, it's a gonzo journalist.  OK, looks pretty sober(ing):

The Reds will face three pitchers with earned run averages below seal level. On Friday, Aaron Harang faces lefthander Jaime Garcia, whose ERA is 1.18. But his record is only 3-2. On Saturday, rookie Mike Leake faces his sternest test when he matches deliveries with Adam Wainwright, who is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA. On Sunday it is Bronson Arroyo against Brad Penny, whose ERA is 1.70, but he is only 3-3.

Phillies stealing signs?
I reckon this is all part of the competitive edge - and takes place on most every team in some form or other - but I can't help but begin to see the new Phillies dynasty in the same light as the New England Patriots, with sleazier fans.

Ken Burns "Extra Inning" of his much-celebrated baseball doc will premier this fall
I loved that thing when it came out and I loved it when I had to persuade the library that I didn't owe $160 worth of fines, assessed over each DVD copy in the set.

"It's a timeless game that hasn't changed much over the last 150 years — and there's little in American life you can say the same about," says Burns, 56.

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