5 more reasons the Reds have been hot since the All-Star break

Since we first recapped the Cincinnati Reds' successful second half start, they have won two more series. That makes six in a row, the longest streak for the team since the "Big Road Machine" won nine in a row in July and August 1999.

With these Reds up to 12-6 since the All-Star break, we thought it is time to take another look at what’s going right down by the river.

1. Joey Votto is still raking

The Reds first baseman had his 17-game hitting streak snapped Thursday, but he has been vintage Votto for a while now. Entering the day, he was leading the majors in on-base percentage (.511) since June 1 and was second in batting average (.374). Since the All-Star break, his .759 slugging percentage trailed only Daniel Murphy’s .840.

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2. The bullpen is still rocking

Reds relievers had a rough night Tuesday, but they bounced back with a combined five scoreless innings in the second and third games of the series against the Cardinals. In July, Cincinnati’s 2.45 bullpen ERA was third-best in the National League.

3. Schebler’s been sensational

The only major change since our last edition is the exit of Jay Bruce. The Reds haven't missed the NL's RBI leader yet, though, thanks to Scott Schebler. Bruce's replacement in the outfield scored two runs Thursday and made a spectacular defensive play Wednesday night. And no one in Reds country is soon to forget his first game back with the big club Tuesday night when his monstrous three-run blast won the game in the bottom of the ninth.

4. Finnegan figuring it out?

The winner Thursday was Brandon Finnegan, a 23-year-old left-hander who pitched six scoreless innings against the Cardinals. He struck out four, walked none and allowed only one hit. It was his second consecutive quality start and his fourth win in his last five decisions.

5. Phillips finds his stroke

Perhaps his at-bats would be better used by a youngster, but the 35-year-old Brandon Phillips went 3 for 4 on Thursday and scored three runs. He raised his batting average to .268. The second baseman has a hit in 19 of his last 21 games, and he recorded his 190th career stolen base Thursday.