Phillips in the leadoff spot
Brandon Phillips is leading off for the Reds on Friday, something he hasn’t done this season and only once in 2014. Since his trade to Cincinnati, Phillips is a .350 hitter with nine homers and 32 RBIs vs. his old team, the Indians. But that figured less in Bryan Price’s decision to move him up to the top spot than the Reds overall struggles offensively (batting .238 as a team). They were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and are hitting a Major League worst with RISP at .189.
“My feeling is really trying to figure out where we’re going to be most successful,” Price said. “Right now, it seems to me to be better served to do some match-up type of stuff based on where guys hit in the order. We’re just trying to find our way to where are consistently a better offensive team. Without Billy hitting at the top of the order, it really comes down to what are our options?
“Brandon has been getting a lot of base hits, not a lot of extra base hits, but he’s been on base at a lot better clip. He’s swinging the bat well. We need to get more guys on base and we have to be more productive in RBI situations. We haven’t been as good as I know we’re capable of being in these run-producing opportunities. Our batting average in these environments is not nearly good enough for us to be successful. I’m just trying to find the right mix and the right order. It’s unfair to a certain degree to move guys around every few games. I’m still trying to find some rhyme or reason to a lineup that isn’t producing at the rate that I think is capable of producing.”