Extra notes: Price; Frazier; Lutz
As the Reds have see-sawed from low to high and back to low again lately, manager Bryan Price was asked if and how he tries to keep the clubhouse from getting down or overly frustrated. Price believes it starts with his own tone setting.
“I try to provide emotional consistency myself,” Price said on Saturday. “I’m sure there is, at times, a palpable frustration that we all share. The thing that gets so frustrating is to play so well and win five out of six and win four in a row and then come back and look almost lifeless. That’s frustrating. It’s certainly not because the guys don’t care. Everybody here wants to win and play better.”
In a game where every team expects and wants to win, Price would like his team to take what it wants more.
“We have to be able to fight harder than our opponents,” he said. “Even without Joey, this isn’t a bad ball club. This is a good ball club. We have pitching and defense that shows up almost every day. We have the top defensive club in baseball in my opinion. We have starting pitching that has kept our bullpen fresh. I think we’ve thrown the fewest innings from our bullpen out of every team in the [Major Leagues] So it’s a rested bullpen. Still we’re five games under .500. The math doesn’t equate to the record. But we have to fight harder. We get behind and it takes our spirit away. That can’t happen. We’re all professionals here. We’ve got to play a more professional game.”
*Todd Frazier, normally the Reds’ third baseman, was back at first base back-to-back games on Saturday. Frazier has three starts at first base, and three errors — one in each game. That included his missing a Ryan Howard one-hopper in the ninth inning. It led to a run scoring during Friday’s 8-0 loss. Since Frazier has been such a good third baseman defensively, he’s disappointed he hasn’t been as sharp on the other side of the infield.
“I don’t know. I can’t explain it,” Frazier said. “When you’re a utility guy, I guess, you’re used to playing at all different positions and work at it a lot. Not to make an excuse, I should’ve had all three, but I haven’t been a utility guy for two years. I don’t mind playing there at all. Don’t get me wrong. I always find a way to make one of them. What are you going to do? I can’t really explain it.”
*Since his promotion on May 23, 1B/OF Donald Lutz has made only two starts. They both came at first base but he hasn’t started since last Saturday at Arizona. Price has been finding it difficult to find playing time for Lutz.
“It’s tough for many reasons,” Price said. “It’s tough because of what I have to do with our roster to get him in there. Sometimes when a time looked good, we’re facing a left-handed starter. Not that I don’t think he can hit left-handed pitching, but there is a better match-up. Other times, it would be removing a guy I like as an offensive player to get that spot. It’s been more challenging than I thought for sure. I anticipated Lutzy playing a little bit more but I haven’t been able to get him in there as much as I would have liked.”