PITTSBURGH -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was given a rare night off from the lineup on Saturday. Phillips was told by acting manager Chris Speier to come to the ballpark late and not take batting practice.
In 18 games since returning to the leadoff spot on Sept. 5, Phillips has struggled while batting .197 with a .265 on-base percentage. He was 2-for-4 and scored the lone run in Friday's 1-0 victory over the Pirates.
"He says, 'I'm seeing the ball so well I think I can hit everything,'" Speier said. "It's a matter of just disciplining himself and staying with his strengths in the zone. I thought he was really good [Friday] night. I thought he was a lot better."
Speier expected to have Jay Bruce, Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen rest on Sunday, while Ryan Ludwick is expected to return to the lineup after not playing since Sept. 19 because of a groin injury. Ludwick pinch-hit in the eighth inning Saturday night and hit a double.
"That looks like the plan as we speak," Speier said.
Bailey trumpets entire rotation's achievements
PITTSBURGH -- Fresh off of pitching a no-hitter on Friday, Homer Bailey believed that the feats of the Reds rotation, and the team in general, should command more of people's attention.
On Saturday, Mike Leake became the fifth Reds pitcher to make his 30th start, something achieved by only seven pitching staffs in Major League history, the last being the 2006 White Sox.
Bronson Arroyo, at 197 innings, will be the fourth Reds starter this season to reach 200 innings if he can work three innings on Monday against the Cardinals. The last team to have four starters pitch 200 innings was also the '06 White Sox. If Arroyo can beat the Cardinals, it will make four Reds starters to have at least 13 wins, something the team's staff hasn't done since 1970.
"You don't hear about it on ESPN. You don't hear about it much," Bailey said on Saturday. "We keep listening about the 1970-whatever Reds. But no one is taking about this team and this rotation and the things that we've done and the number of quality starts, the amount of innings -- the four guys over 200 and five guys making 30 starts.
"We come here [Friday] night and there's [34,796] people. We go back home and there's only 20 [thousand] for a first-place team with a bunch of very exciting things going on, whether it's Todd Frazier going for Rookie of the Year, Joey Votto going for a batting title or Johnny Cueto up for Cy Young. We have a rotation full of guys, day in and day out, that take the ball. We don't necessarily try to get the attention, but I think what everybody is witnessing with this team is something special. It shouldn't go overlooked."
After no-no, low-key celebration for Bailey
PITTSBURGH -- So what does a guy who just threw a no-hitter do much of the night and the following day? For Reds starter Homer Bailey, you answer a lot of congratulatory text messages.
"The minimum number -- as I was responding, I was still getting them -- 140," Bailey said was the running total. "There was a lot of copying and pasting going. I don't like to be rude, but I hope they understand."
Bailey threw the first no-hitter of his career, and the 15th in Reds history, during Friday's 1-0 win over the Pirates. He walked one and struck out 10 during his 115-pitch performance. Back in his home state of Texas, Bailey's parents were able to watch.
"They watch every game even if I'm not pitching. They were pretty ecstatic about it," Bailey said.
Following the game, Bailey celebrated with some of his teammates.
"It was nothing too wild," said Bailey, who is 13-10 with a 3.75 ERA in 32 starts. "I just went to the hotel bar with a few of the guys and just kind of enjoyed the night."
On Saturday, it was back to work. Bailey did his usual throwing and running at PNC Park.
"Nothing changes. It's back in the routine," Bailey said.
As the rotation takes its final turn over the last four games of the season, don't expect starters to get shorter outings before the playoffs begin.
"I think we'll go on schedule," Speier said. "A lot of it is mainly how they feel. Pitch counts, we'll take a look at that. Situations of the game, of course, are going to matter. It's going to be monitored with maybe a stricter hand as we go here."