Red Reposter - Five-game winning streaks are better than five gamy skinny steaks

Not pictured - A monkey on roller skates carrying a tray of Arby's roast beef and cheddars for the post-game celebration. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Fingers crossed
Nick Masset should be throwing some baseballs today. He hasn't thrown in over a month due to soreness in his shoulder. The bullpen has been terrific without him, but a healthy and productive Masset could take some of the pressure off of Chapman, Marshall, Arredondo, and Ondrusek, who have all worked a great deal already this season.

Hall o' Famer Hal says this could be the year of the 12
Because that's Dusty Baker's uniform number, as well as the year. Also, Todd Frazier's number is 21, which is 12 in reverse. And when you really start to think about it, there are 12s all over this team. The Reds have been to the playoffs 13 times in their history, which is just one more than 12. Barry Larkin is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this season, and his jersey number was 11. That's just one away from 12. As a team, the Reds have 12 saves so far (eight for Marshall, two for Chapman, and one each for Ondrusek and Arredondo). Aroldis Chapman has been other-worldly so far this season, and he's 24 years old. Cut that in half, and you...well, you get it.

Jason Linden at Redleg Nation tries to parse out how much of the Reds' offensive struggles is due to luck
and how much is due to plain ol' notverygoodness. In short, the struggles so far are due, in part, to bad BABIP luck. So you can bet that they will likely hit better as the season progresses and that luck normalizes. But he also cautions that the team just isn't walking enough to make him believe that they will be a league-leading offense again. So while they will probably hit better, it probably won't be as much as you'd like. Good stuff, Jason.

It ain't just about filling out the lineup card
Dusty Baker did some good work this week, giving Zack Cozart some helpful hitting tips. He was in a 2-26 slump when Dusty pointed out to him that his timing was a bit off. Since then he's 6-15. You really have to give the credit to Cozart though, for being willing to listen and doing all the actual work. I mean, the way he was hitting, any manager would have obviously seen the issue and corrected it. You can't really give Dusty credit for something he's supposed to do. /endsarcasm

On Tuesday, Cozart's wango walk was tied for the fastest of the day
He circled the bases in 18.79 seconds, which is fairly quick compared to the average. If you don't already, it's really fun to keep tabs on Wezen-Ball'sTater Trot Tracker. Mike Leake's donation to the National Association for the Distribution of Bleacher Souvenirs resulted in the 4th-fastest trot this season, which is cool.

Baseball America has done some damn fine work in divining the draft bonus caps for every team in this year's draft
Click on through for a detailed explanation, but long story short, the Reds are squarely in the middle of the pack with $6.6 mil to spend on the 12 picks they have in the first ten rounds.

And now, follow along after the jarm for a look at what the rest of the SBNL Central is talking about:

The Crawfish Boxes is goin' all coocoo bananaramamamajammas over Jed Lowrie
And for good reason. Kid is thonkin' the rawhide to the tune of .289/.368/.496. And he's a shortstop, remember. The 'stros are only four games out of first place, and only 3.5 behind the Reds right now, and Lowrie is a big, big part of that. There is much worry about whether or not he can stay healthy though, as that was one of the main reasons why the Red Sox were willing to deal him for a relief pitcher like Mark Melancon. TCB ain't worried about that though, as his injury history isn't for anything chronic like a bad knee or a bad back. So watch out. This guy could be terrorizing the NL Central for a long time to...oh yeah, they're moving to the AL. Nyah nyah.

Bucs Dugout lists GM Neal Huntington's best moves since taking office
No surprise here, as signing Andrew McCutchen to that six year, $51.5 mil deal heads the list. Too bad he's not moving to the AL. Also not surprising is the number of expensive veterans who were flipped for prospects, as the Octavio Dotel, Nate McClouth, and Xavier Nady deals all make appearances here.

I get the sense that Bucs Dugout Charlie isn't terribly enthusiastic about Huntington's tenure as GM, and I can't say as I blame him. Huntington took over at the end of the '07 season and the Pirates still have yet to have a winning season. And for a fanbase that hasn't seen a winning season in a generation, it's understandable that there isn't much good will to go around.

But from an outsider's perspective, I'm pretty impressed with what Huntington has done. It's important to remember that the Pirates had zero talent - I mean pretty much absolutely nothing from the majors down to single A - when Huntington took over. And he earns tons of bonus points for not being Dave Littlefield. The Pirates are still not ready for primetime, but I think they will be soon enough.

SBNation St Louis checks in with Albert Pujols in light of the Lance Berkman injury news
It's awesomelegos.

The Cubs are in a bad, bad way
They've lost nine in a row now and Bleed Cubbie Blue is worried that the streak isn't going to end any time soon. They took the lead on Wednesday in the first inning when Reed Johnson toked a solo bonger, which was the first lead the team held in 60 innings. They haven't just lost nine games in a row - they've lost nine games and played very, very badly in doing so. Keep it up, fellas!

The Brewers got the win yesterday, beating the Giants 8-5 on the strength of a six-run first inning off Barry Zito
The remarkable thing about the game though was that the Brewers only got one inning out of their starter, Marco Estrada, who doubled in that big first inning and hurt his leg.

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