Edinson Volquez impressed in his first outing back from Tommy John surgery. I don't know if there was anything else we could have asked for from the young right-hander. It's a good thing too, because his presence may save the Reds a few prospects going after someone like Dan Haren (not that I wouldn't welcome him with open arms), so that they can acquire some cheaper help in places they need it more. Obviously it's still too early to call Volquez the ace - one start does not a season make - but I'd say that if he can come in and be effective for the remainder of the year, it sure makes the playoffs seem like a more realistic goal.
The key at this point is to hang close to the Cardinals. We knew they were going to make a run eventually, though I never would have guessed that it'd be against the Dodgers and Phillies (thanks, jerks!). They will cool off eventually, and when that happens, hopefully the Reds will still be within a couple of games. The two teams have similar schedules between now and when they face off in August, except that the Reds face the Brewers Braves for 3 games each while the Cards take on the Mets and Marlins. I'm not sure who has that advantage. After today, the Reds have 15 games before they face the Cardinals again. I think 9-6 is a realistic goal in those games, so I'm going to challenge them to go 10-5, which, if they win today, would put them at 16 games over .500 for the first time since 1999.
Before any of that matters though, you've got to win the game right in front of you. They've already clinched a winning homestand, but 5-2 feels a lot better than 4-3, especially since they go on the road for 6 games, where they've played only .500 ball this year. Win today and take some good vibes on the road!
P.S. - If you didn't know, the game is on MLB Network today.