MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - INSIDE PITCH


CINCINNATI -- Whether it's stepping in to play first base or shifting spots in the batting order, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is willing to step outside the box for the betterment of the team. On Monday, Bruce batted second for the first time since 2011.

"I'm employee No. 32," Bruce said. "I do what I'm told. The place where I hit in the batting order doesn't matter to me. It's better than not being in there. Where I hit in the order doesn't affect me mentally. I'm a baseball player. You hit where you hit."

Reds manager Bryan Price wouldn't call it a "shake up", but clearly his club needs a shift in direction when it comes to scoring runs. With two key cogs -- second baseman Brandon Phillips and first baseman Joey Votto -- on the disabled list, Cincinnati is struggling to find continuity on offense.

"Just trying to do some things ... to see if there's a better recipe for success right now offensively," said Price. "We're going to come around. We're just trying to create some different opportunities for different guys to (do) some things offensively."

Bruce said it was possible he'd see more fastballs hitting behind speedy leadoff man Billy Hamilton. Bruce has had success in the two-hole, batting .296 in 25 appearances there with five homers, 17 RBIs and a .389 on-base percentage.

At this point, Bruce is open to anything after batting 3-for-28 (.107) with one RBI since the All-Star break. Collectively, the Reds hit .178 and .096 with runners in scoring position while losing eight of nine after break.

The struggles continued for Bruce and the Reds on Monday night. Bruce went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a pair of walks and the Reds went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1, 15-inning loss to Arizona.

"I think it's no secret that, personally, I've been struggling and as a team we haven't been doing too well, so shaking it up can't hurt," said Bruce.

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MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 52-53

STREAK: Lost two

NEXT: Diamondbacks (RHP Trevor Cahill, 1-7, 5.72 ERA) at Reds (RHP Mike Leake, 7-9, 3.73 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RF Jay Bruce batted second for the first time since 2011 on Monday. "Just trying to do some things ... to see if there's a better recipe for success right now offensively," said Reds manager Bryan Price. It was Bruce's 26th career appearance in the two-hole. He batted .269 with five homers, five doubles, and 17 RBIs. He went 0-for-4 with three Ks and two walks on Monday.

--RHP Homer Bailey induced 13 ground-ball outs in eight innings on Monday, including the seventh, when Arizona had runners on first and third with one out but SS Nick Ahmed grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Bailey retired the D-backs in order in the second, third, sixth and eighth innings. He gave up five hits while walking one and striking out three.

--C Devin Mesoraco hit his 17th home run on Monday night, just his third homer in July. The 17 homers are the most by a Reds catcher since David Ross matched that total in 2007.

--LHP Aroldis Chapman reached 104 mph on his fastball and 101-103 on several others during the ninth inning on Monday, while striking out three batters to extend his major league record strikeout streak to 44 straight appearances.