Looking back over the past 9 baseball months, the Cincinnati Reds have essentially been a .500 team. They had two hot months in 2010, mostly against poor teams, that boosted them to 91 wins and a division championship. The 2011 iteration is yet to have that big run.

The Reds won 18 games last May and 19 games in August for a .661 win percentage in those two months. In the other 7 months, the Reds have put together a combined 98-96 record. Outside of May and August 2010, the Reds have played no better nor worse than 2 games over or 2 games under .500 in any single month.

Every strong stretch of games they’ve played in 2011 has been followed by a poor stretch. Since a good West Coast road trip that included a sweep of the Dodgers, the Reds have lost 5 of 6 series. They have not won consecutive games since that June 15th sweep. The only series win in those past 18 games was against Tampa.

With the 2011 season more than half over, the Reds front office can no longer wait for that big month to happen on its own. They need to make a move, start to shake things up from within the organization, and make a July trade that will improve this club. The move with Cozart today is a good start that will begin to improve the club.

Some luck falls the Reds way as they will miss one of Milwaukee’s better starters, Yovani Gallardo, in the upcoming 4-game series in Milwaukee. Everyone except Bronson Arroyo is scheduled to start for the Reds.

Should Edinson Volquez make the last start of the first half, or are you ready to send him back to AAA? Dontrelle Willis was scheduled at one point to start for the AAA Bats last night, then scheduled to pitch in relief, and he did neither. So far, the Reds are not tipping their hand with Jocketty saying that Volquez will pitch on Sunday.

Pitching matchups for the final first half series are:

Game 1:
Chris Narveson, 5-5, 4.86 ERA, 3.50 xFIP, 1.45 WHIP – surrendered 14 hits and 7 runs in 4.2 innings in his last outing vs. Minnesota
Homer Bailey, 3-3, 3.64 ERA, 3.41 xFIP, 1.17 WHIP – last outing, 2nd back from DL, was solid: 7ip, 2 er, 1bb, 7k

Game 2:
Zach Greinke, 7-3, 5.66 ERA, 2.16 xFIP, 1.24 WHIP – has allowed 12 runs in just 8 innings over his last two outings; has one of the largest gaps in ERA vs xFIP in baseball
Mike Leake, 8-4, 4.03 ERA, 3.63 xFIP, 1.19 WHIP – has a 2.89 ERA and .238 opponent AVG since back from AAA

Game 3:
Shaun Marcum, 7-3, 3.32 ERA, 3.46 xFIP, 1.11 WHIP – 6 innings in last outing is most thrown in his 3 starts since his June 17 hip injury
Johnny Cueto, 5-2, 1.77 ERA, 3.62 xFIP, 0.96 WHIP – pitched at least 7 innings in 7 consecutive starts; hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in any of his 11 starts

Game 4:
Randy Wolf, 6-6, 3.72 ERA, 4.20 xFIP, 1.32 WHIP – shelled in last outing for 10 hits, 4 walks and 7 earned runs in 6 innings against D-Backs
Edinson Volquez, 5-3, 5.93 ERA, 4.02 xFIP, 1.64 WHIP – he started the first half, should he be on the mound to end the first half?