Positive signs abound for Cincinnati Reds in week one

The Reds’ Billy Hamilton steals second base against the Phillies on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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The Reds’ Billy Hamilton steals second base against the Phillies on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Reds throw three shutouts in first six games

Fans of the Cincinnati Reds shouldn’t print World Series tickets just yet. They also shouldn’t downplay what the team did in week one of the season.

The Reds are 4-2. They were 4-2 two years ago and won 64 games. They were 5-1 last season and won 68 games. The last time they won the National League Central Division in 2012, they started 3-3. In short, no one should draw any grand conclusions after six games.

RELATED: Reds on a roll early in 2017

However, anyone looking for positive signs from the youngest team in baseball — on average, the current Reds are about as old as the team’s World Series championship drought, just shy of 27 years — found plenty in the first two series.

1. Series wins: The Reds took two out of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies in the first series of the season at Great American Ball Park. That was no big surprise. The Phillies haven't had a winning season since 2011.

PHOTOS: Reds vs. Phillies

Winning two of three games in St. Louis against the Cardinals, however, flips the script. Prior to their 8-0 victory Sunday, which clinched the series victory, the Reds had a 4-32-3 record in 39 series in St. Louis since 2003. This was their first series win in St. Louis since July 2015.

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Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart talks to reliever Michael Lorenzen during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: HANDOUT

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart talks to reliever Michael Lorenzen during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: HANDOUT

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Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart talks to reliever Michael Lorenzen during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

2. Better bullpen: Cincinnati's bullpen ranked 29th out of 30 teams last season with a 5.09 ERA. That ERA was an accomplishment considering it stood as high as 6.05 in late June.

HARTMAN: So far so good for bullpen

It’s a small sample size, but through six games in 2017, the Reds bullpen ranks seventh in baseball with a 1.34 ERA. Wandy Peralta, Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias and Tony Cingrani have all made at least two appearances without allowing a run. Take away the three earned runs Robert Stephenson allowed in 1 2/3 innings Saturday in a 10-4 loss to the Cardinals, and the ERA is 0.87.

3. Strong debut: On Friday against the Cardinals, Amir Garrett became the third Reds pitcher since 1913 — and the first since Wayne Simpson in 1970 — to throw at least six scoreless innings in his big-league debut. Not since Keith Brown in 1988 had a Reds pitcher beat the Cardinals in his debut.

“Tonight is a night I will never forget,” Garrett wrote on Twitter. “My debut what nothing less than I imagined. My teammates are awesome. Not did they only have my back on the field, but they helped me deal with all the emotions. Proud to be apart of an organization like the Reds.”

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Reds starter Scott Feldman talks to a trainer and manager Bryan Price, right, during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Reds starter Scott Feldman talks to a trainer and manager Bryan Price, right, during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds starter Scott Feldman talks to a trainer and manager Bryan Price, right, during a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

4. Solid starts: Scott Feldman allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies on Opening Day. He was much better in his second start, shutting out the Cardinals on four hits in six innings Sunday.

HAL McCOY: Feldman an interesting guy

It was the third time in six games the Reds starting pitcher threw at least six shutout innings. Brandon Finnegan blanked the Phillies for seven innings in a 2-0 victory Wednesday.

5. All zeroes: The Reds are the sixth team in the wild-card era to shut out their opponents three times in a six-game stretch. They had eight shutouts all of last season and none until June 26. They didn't record their third shutout until July 29.

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The Reds’ Zack Cozart avoids a tag against Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

The Reds’ Zack Cozart avoids a tag against Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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The Reds’ Zack Cozart avoids a tag against Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

6. Consistent hitter: Zack Cozart began last season with a 10-game hitting streak. He has at least one hit in each of the first six games and leads the Reds with a .450 batting average.

7. Power surge: Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Joey Votto each have two home runs. Duvall is hitting .348. That's a good sign because he finished last season on a down note, hitting .212 in the final month.

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