Hamilton, Byrd struggling at plate
Since getting off to a nice start, Reds leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton has cooled quite a bit. He started out 4-for-9 in the first two games, but is batting .107 (3-for-28) in his last seven games. Entering the day, he’s 1-for-13 on the road trip and his last walk came when he drew two bases-on-balls April 10 — which also was the last time he stole a base after a 7-for-7 start in the first four games.
Not a coincidence, the Reds offense has also slowed since the 4-0 start, and without Devin Mesoraco’s absence.
“We’ve also had to move Brandon [Phillips] up to the four-hole without having Devin here, which I hate to say shortens our lineup but it’s certainly not the lineup we anticipated,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Saturday morning. “Having Brandon hitting further down the lineup really gave us authoritative bat there in the back of the lineup. It’s certainly important. [Hamilton] is a big factor in our offense. He’s quite often in scoring position. He’s going to score in a myriad of ways with his speed. And it’s just one more guy for us to knock in with that middle of the order group we have. It’s pretty important that he’s on base as far as generating our offense. [But] we’ve got seven other guys that have similar responsibility to get on base and drive in runs.”
And one of those players should be Marlon Byrd, who is off to a poor start after a strong Spring Training. Byrd enters Saturday batting .132 (5-for-38) in his 10 games. He still had Price’s full support.
“We’re definitely going to have way more leeway with a veteran player that’s got career numbers,” Price said. “He’s coming off a year where he hit 25 homers and drove in over 80 runs. That doesn’t just disappear because he struggles for a 10-game stretch. I’m looking forward to him breaking out and the impact it will have on our lineup, for sure. I haven’t lost any faith that he’s going to have a real nice year for us.”