6 up with 31 games left

Barring a September meltdown, more and more it’s looking like the surprise 2010 Cincinnati Reds will be playoff bound.

The Reds surged to a season-high six games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the National League Central on Monday with their latest heart-stopping, comeback win. Jay Bruce’s single in the 10th inning provided the winning run and Bruce’s best hot streak of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. He has mashed five home runs in the last four games combined, including one tonight (and three last Friday to go along with one on Sunday).

Bruce is only 23, yet some fans were ready to write him off during his dreadful stretch throughout the month of July. But he has turned it around in a big way. For the season, Bruce is now batting .274 with 18 HRs and 58 RBIs.

And not only did the Reds pull out another exhilarating win in comeback fashion (they trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the sixth), the Cardinals did their part by losing to yet another bad team. This time, it was the Houston Astros taking down the Cards 3-0.

Wow. Six games up with 31 games remaining on the schedule for the Reds. If Cincinnati is able to go into St. Louis this coming weekend and at least take two out of three, this baby is over. Easier said than done with the way the Reds looked a couple weeks ago when the Cardinals swept a three-game series in Cincinnati. However, six games is a huge cushion at this stage of the season and it will be interesting to see how things transpire the rest of this week and then especially this weekend in St. Louis.