This is not rational, logical, or reasonable, but something about tonight's (Wednesday's) game and the manager's recent handling of the bullpen makes me unaccountably optimistic about the rest of the season.
The optimism began with Keppinger's base-clearing double and grew from there. Had it been a superstar getting those 3 RBI, that would have been one thig, but Kepp has been McCanin's #3 SS.
Then, in the ninth, with Freel at second, Phillips at shortstop (the Skip's #4 SS), Conine at third, and Weathers in for a second inning, it got the old Far East juices stirring.
The Reds have won several series under the new skipper, have shown that they can play with the front runners, and they are 19-23 vs Central Division teams (with a whopping 11 of their 59 losses coming to American League teams).
Admittedly this is an emotional reaction, and there are a bunch of Central teams in the way, but if this were a little earlier in July instead of late July, I'd be advocating that the Reds be buyers, not sellers.
Just what currency they would use to be buyers I don't know.