Despite having no Major League Baseball managing experience, Reds former pitching coach Bryan Price was selected to head up the team. In a season filled with challenges, he is trying to prove he is up to the task with several key changes.
Pitchers Going Deep Into Game
One of the key strengths of the 2014 Reds is their starting pitching staff. But in an era where 100 pitches tends to be the maximum thrown by a starter anymore, Price is expecting better pitch efficiency and is not afraid to let pitchers throw beyond the customary standard. Using this approach he is able to get deeper into the game before calling on the bullpen — which, unlike in past years, has been spotty in its performance this season.
Backup Player Strategy
Price seems to have an unspoken rule of giving regular players a game or two off every now and then so they can rest. This has the added benefit of keeping his backup players sharp so when they are called on they can deliver. In a recent game against the Chicago Cubs, it was Chris Heisey’s 2-out single in the top of the 9th that started the rally, breaking to the 1-1 tie. Heisey’s hit open the door for Devin Mesoraco’s grand slam that capped off the Reds 6-1 victory.
Possibly the technique he is most known for is his willingness — and apparent strategy — of changing the batting lineup to correspond with the player’s current batting effectiveness. It seems to be working because for most of the month of June, the team is on an incredible offensive streak. Reds third baseball Todd Frazier is leading NL third basemen in several key categories and is tied for third in National League home runs. He is closing in on a .300 batting average — currently around .280 — all from the number two spot in the lineup.
Because of the quality of the players on the team, Price has been criticized for their overall winning record which just recently climbed above .500. But, if June is any indication of the team’s season after the break — closing the gap is a possibility.