Cincinnati Reds relevant again in July

With Red, White and Blue Ash still ringing sweetly in my ears, thoughts turn to a. . . pennant race? Can The Club declare independence from mostly mundane baseball for the first time in eight years?

After sweeping the Cubbies over the weekend, the Reds are playing really good baseball at a really good time. After three games in KC, the Reds get the Brewers seven games in a row, in a showdown broken up by the all-star break. The Crew beat bad teams 11 times in a row before the Pirates shut them out Sunday. The law of averages suggests the Reds will catch the Brewers in a return to reality.

More to the point, the Reds broomed the Cubs while playing the sort of ball successful teams play. Pitching and defense. Weekend aside, no one should be ready to declare the bullpen a strength. Amir Garrett’s “statement’’ proclamation should make you squirmy.

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