Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price is willing to shake things up in an effort to revive his flat offense.
On Sunday, Price batted first baseman Joey Votto in the No. 2 spot in the order for the second straight day, a move long clamored for by the fan base and some pundits. “I don’t feel like a sit on your hands type approach is the way to get this thing turned around,” says Price.
In the first 11 games this season, Cincinnati was batting .219 as a team and had scored three or fewer runs seven times and two or fewer runs on four occasions. On Sunday afternoon, they erupted for 12 runs on 13 hits in a 12-4 win over Tampa Bay.
“We just have to keep the faith,” said Price, who held a team meeting following Saturday’s 1-0 loss. “Pressure is self-induced. We know we have a good team. We just need to go out and play the way we’re capable of playing.”
Votto had batted second on just eight previous occasions. Saturday was his first start in the No. 2 hole since Aug. 8, 2008 vs. the Houston Astros. Votto has made 735 starts batting third.
On Saturday, Votto went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, but the Reds were shut out 1-0. In Sunday’s game, he followed Billy Hamilton’s leadoff single in the third with a 452-foot home run to center.
Sunday’s game produced a season high for runs and hits. The five-run third inning was the most runs they’d scored in an inning this season and the first time they have batted around. A pinch-hit grand slam by outfielder Chris Heisey capped the scoring on Sunday.
Tweaks to the batting order aside, the Reds are confident that their lineup has the potential to score more consistently as the season progresses.
“Baseball is a game of failure,” said right fielder Jay Bruce. “It’s a tough game. Over the course of the year, we’re going to do just fine. We just have to be prepared and ready to take advantages of those situations when we have runners on base.”