Reds show improvement in first half of 2017

Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto (19) celebrates with Zack Cozart (2) after hitting a two-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Tyler Lyons in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The first half of the Major League Baseball season is over and the All-Star Game is out of the way.

The Reds head into the second half of the season in last place in the National League Central, but they are in a better position than they were a year ago.

A strong offense, led by a pair of all-stars in Zack Cozart and Joey Votto, and a solid bullpen has helped the Reds improve from 32-57 at this time last year to 39-49 at the midway point this year. Last year, they were trailing the red hot Chicago Cubs in first place by 21.5 games, while this season they are trailing first place Milwaukee by just 9.5 games.

Cozart and Votto were both spectacular during the first 89 games of the season. Cozart is currently hitting .316 with 9 home runs and 35 RBI, while Votto is putting up numbers that have him in the National League MVP conversation with a .315 batting average to go with 26 homers, 68 RBI and a .427 on base percentage.

There have been definite improvements and positive signs that the Reds are moving in the right direction with their rebuild, but there's also been a glaring weakness.

Cincinnati's starting pitching rotation ranks dead last in the major leagues in ERA and innings pitched. What makes matters worse is that the Reds have tried nearly every option available in their organization at this point with very little success, leaving little room for hope of improvement in the second half.

Here's a video recapping the first half of the season for the Reds:

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