Reds manager Bryan Price gave leadoff hitter and center fielder Billy Hamilton the day off from the lineup on Wednesday. Chris Heisey took Hamilton’s place.
Hamilton snapped a career-high 0-for-15 slump with a first-inning double and scored a run in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Arizona.
“I think like what I did with Zack [Cozart] the other day, you have to stay aware with these guys that are pretty much everyday players that we keep them fresh,” Price said. “He scuffled a little bit but I like his fight. I really have no concerns about Billy because he goes out there and competes and fights every single at-bat, every single game. I’ve really enjoyed his development. But I also need to stay aware of the longer season. He’s an everyday player here at the big league level, playing center field. I think today was a good day to take off and be ready to go in Miami.”
*The Reds have scored three runs or less in 11-straight games, the longest stretch for the club since it happened 11 games in a row from Aug. 28-Sept. 8, 1967. The last time it happened for 12-straight games was Aug. 26-Sept. 9, 1948, when that Reds team tied the club record previous done in 1914 and 1943 with 14-straight games with three runs or less.
A few quick items following a 3-0 Reds victory over the D-backs.
*Mike Leake delivered a much needed 7 2/3 inning victory in the game to earn his 50th career win. Leake did not walk a batter and struck out eight while giving up five hits. It was the Reds’ fourth-straight quality start from their rotation after they were 1-for-7 coming out of the All-Star break.
“He was just sharp and on the attack,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I often felt there was a certain element to Mike, a competitiveness that when he unleashes it, he’s on the attack and … attacking the zone and attacking the hitter, pitching aggressively inside which he does very comfortably. There is a fierceness to the kid that makes him even better than his stuff.”
“Leake was pretty good,” D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said. “That ball was moving more than normal. I mean you see it down the middle and the next thing you know that ball is way off the plate. He pitched well. He knows how to pitch, he mixes speeds and his sinker was working. He was working ahead in the count and was making good pitches early and getting quick outs. He’s tough. I’ve got to give credit to him.”
Todd Frazier, who had a dismal 0-for-6 game with four strikeouts in Monday’s 15-inning loss, was 2-for-4 with a RBI single in the first inning and a run scored. Frazier also stole his 16th base of the season before he scored on Brayan Pena’s RBI hit in the sixth inning.
Frazier is four steals shy of becoming only the third Reds third baseman with at least 20 homers and 20 steals. The other two were Aaron Boone and Chris Sabo.
“It’s pretty cool,” Frazier said of his stolen base total. “I was really fast when I was younger, and as I got older, the weight’s kicked in and a couple of root beers. I don’t know; I’ve always thought of myself as a good base runner. You’ve got to have confidence in whatever you do. I got the green light here and I’ve been working on it a lot. I have to give credit to Mike Stefanski, he’s spending tireless hours in there trying to help me out about what times are good to go, because I kind of have a walking lead sometimes, so when to time that out.”
The Reds announced Tuesday afternoon that right fielder Jay Bruce was placed on the bereavement list. RHP Curtis Partch was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Bruce’s spot on the 25-man roster.
Bruce is allowed to be away from the club for a minimum of three days to a maximum of seven days.
This is Partch’s fifth call-up to the Reds this season. He has only appeared in five games over those call-ups and allowed no runs, two hits and seven walks.
Bruce is batting .215/.300/.379 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 87 games this season.
Reds manager Bryan Price hasn’t been afraid to juggle the lineup to find a spark this season. With the team losing eight of nine and several players not hitting well, he made another change. Right fielder Jay Bruce, struggling most of all during the season, is batting second.
It is the 82nd different lineup Price has written this season (not counting the pitcher’s spot). Bruce hasn’t batted second since doing it six times in 2011. He did it 15 times in 2008 as a rookie and a handful of times in between 2009-10.
“I think it’s no secret that personally, I’ve been struggling, and as a team, offensively, we haven’t been doing so well, so shaking it up a little bit can’t hurt,” Bruce said. “As Bryan said, when you’re put into a different spot in the order you don’t change your approach to hitting, you just go up there with the same approach and you really try to focus on what makes you successful and don’t get tentative and don’t get indecisive. You just keep moving forward. It hasn’t been a pretty year for me, but there are no excuses. I expect to do better and you can’t stay in a place of the past; you have to continue to move forward and I look forward to today because the opportunity to turn it around is there for me to take and I look forward to doing that.”
Bruce wasn’t given advance word of the change in the order. It could benefit him in getting more fastballs, and could benefit leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton if defenses employ a shift for Bruce.
“But I can imagine that the way teams focus on Billy, it’s definitely something that’s noticed. I’ll be ready, Pitch One,” Bruce said. “If they are shifting over too much, [Hamilton] can take two bases on a steal; he has the best opportunity of anybody out there.”
Got a few tidbits of information for you this Saturday afternoon …
*INF Jack Hannahan is back from Triple-A Louisville and here at Great American Ball Park today. Hannahan took batting practice and infield work at first base with the club. The decision on whether to activate him has not been made yet. He would be a lefty bat off the bench and part of the rotation at first base that’s been filling in for Joey Votto.
“He had a nice three-hit day yesterday for Louisville,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “That’s seven hits in his last three games. So he’s been swinging the bat well. We want to make that when he’s activated, he’s able to be a regular part of what we’re doing and we’re not trying to rehabilitate him at this level on a 25-man roster.”
*RHP Logan Ondrusek, on the DL with a right shoulder strain, has not resumed a throwing program yet. Ondrusek is slated to begin playing catch on Monday. With his transaction from Friday backdated to July 13, he is eligible to be activated on Monday. That appears not to be happening.
*RHP Alfredo Simon, who is 0-2 with a 4.82 ERA in his last two starts including a 4 1/3 inning outing on Friday, has not hit a wall of some sort in Price’s mind.
“I get the question,” Price said. “I think we need to see a few more starts to come up with that interpretation. I just felt like he was up in the zone. I thought he had good velocity. He a good little slider and threw some really good splits. From what I’ve seen, he’s been getting hurt a lot more on his off-speed stuff.
“I don’t anticipate that being an issue, only because he’s an older guy and I think he’s conditioned to be the type of pitcher we’re using him as now. Time will tell what type of season he finishes up with. I think it’s going to be very good.”
*LHP Tony Cingrani, who has been on the DL at Louisville because of a shoulder injury, still has not resumed a throwing program.
“There still is a little bit of soreness and some shoulder impingement, I believe it was the diagnosis is,” Price said. “Other than the strengthening stuff, he hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he’s been cleared to start throwing yet.”
*On TV or at the ballpark, you might have noticed some different colored grass patches in the outfield. It is the remnants of the stage from the Jason Aldean concert held here a week ago. A couple of weeks before that, Beyonce and Jay-Z also had a show here. Price felt the outfield is holding up fine and hasn’t gotten any bad reports from his players.
“I thought that [head groundskeeper] Doug Gallant and the staff did a great job,” Price said. “They basically had to go out there and re-sod that center field portion. You can see the differential between the old grass and the new grass but got it in there with enough time for it to kind of get rooted.”