Where was Bruce?
I almost saw my fourth no-hitter since 2010 on Monday evening as Hyun-Jin Ryu took a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Reds before a rally fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. The game story, of course, is on MLB.com/Reds.com.
Here are some items I wanted to expand on:
*Jay Bruce, who had been given a night off, didn’t appear out of the dugout until he was on deck to pinch-hit in the ninth but never got up. When the Reds rallied for three runs in the eighth, the pitcher’s spot represented the tying run. Manager Bryan Price elected to use Skip Schumaker to pinch-hit instead of Bruce. Schumaker reached with a two-out walk against reliever Brian Wilson.
“I figured that might be a question coming in,” Price said. “I needed a great at-bat and I sent up Schumaker. It’s what he’s done. He’s been a bench player a good portion of his career. He’s been giving us really good consistent at-bats, especially of late, and I needed a great at-bat in that situation.”
*Price also stayed with Bruce’s lineup replacement — Chris Heisey — earlier in the eighth inning and again in the ninth inning. Heisey got a sac fly for the Reds’ first run and a two-out single in the ninth.
“I like guys that have been in the game and are warm and are active in seeing pitches – unless that guy is built to be that guy,” Price said. “Having Heisey up there in that situation, he had three prior at-bats. He was loose, had seen pitches and had been in the game. I felt like that was more of an advantage than bringing in a guy cold off the bench that doesn’t have a history of doing that job.”
*In the third inning after Todd Frazier’s two-out error at first base, Reds ace Johnny Cueto walked Yasiel Puig, prompting catcher Brayan Pena to give some stern talk to his pitcher at the mound.
“He came to the mound and said we can’t allow the same thing to happen in Washington,” said Cueto, who gave up six runs in his previous start for his first bad outing. “He said ‘just keep your head up and keep doing your job.’”
Heisey on the Reds’ struggles vs. Ryu: “We hit a couple of balls hard. Ludwick hit a rocket to the center fielder and Turner made a couple of nice plays in the hole on Cozart. Other than that, we really weren’t putting great at-bats together, myself included. Finally, Frazier got that double. That’s kind of how it goes. He’s locked in trying to make perfect pitches to keep us from getting a hit or base runner. Once we did that, we were able to get to him a little bit.”