09/27/12 12:50 PM ET
Reds in September slumber with lumber
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Entering Thursday, Cincinnati was hitting .229 for the month, ahead of only the Astros in the NL. The Reds' 172 runs scored were better than only the Dodgers.
Several hitters have been in funks, including Brandon Phillips (5-for-39 entering Thursday), Scott Rolen (6-for-43), Chris Heisey (4-for-38) and Jay Bruce (7-for-50).
"It's always important to just be as prepared as you can. Baseball is a game of ups and downs," Bruce said. "We're going to be fine. We've either [been] tied or one game back for the best record in baseball. We haven't played as well as we can of late, but I am completely confident that we will."
As the team's leadoff hitter, Phillips would like to set a better tone at the plate.
"I feel like we need to wake up," Phillips said. "We just ain't getting it done right now. We're a better hitting team. I just feel like I need to step my game up. I don't want to talk about anybody else, but I feel like as a team, we should step our game up. But especially me, because I feel like it starts with me. Once I start getting my feeling back or whatever, I think everybody else will follow."
Ludwick still bothered by tightness in groin
CINCINNATI -- Thursday marked a full week that left fielder Ryan Ludwick has been out of the Reds' lineup with tightness in his left groin.
"I want to make sure I'm right before I go out there, because I don't want it to be wrong for the next month," Ludwick said. "I feel like I'm right around the corner. I still feel a little bit in there. I don't feel it's smart with the situation we're in to push it."
Since the Reds have already clinched the National League Central, the club has been extra cautious about not rushing Ludwick back into games. He is batting .276 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs this season.
It's possible that Ludwick could be back on the field as soon as this weekend's series in Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, he took full batting practice with the team and has been doing running and agility drills.
"I wanted to get a measurement today on how he felt after he did the work yesterday," acting manager Chris Speier said. "It's at least today and maybe tomorrow, too. Hopefully, maybe he'll get a chance for a pinch-hit first and then get him in there when he's ready."
Speier not expecting surprises on playoff roster
CINCINNATI -- Behind the scenes since they the clinched the National League Central title, the Reds have been mulling over decisions for their 25-man NL Division Series roster.
While strong stretch-run performances for some players on the roster bubble might be considered, the club will also look at the big picture and player track records.
"You want to have the best roster you can," acting manager Chris Speier said. "But you take in consideration the contribution people have made throughout the year and who deserves it. I'm sure the final roster, there won't be too many surprises on that."
General manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker have the largest influence on the roster makeup, but the coaching staff has been involved in the meetings, as well.
"They always ask for our input," Speier said on Thursday. "We probably have final say with that as long as we're in the same boat with Dusty and Bryan [Price], of course."
The Reds drew 23,411 fans to Great American Ball Park for Thursday's regular-season home finale, which made the 2012 total 2,347,251. That marked a six percent increase in attendance over last season.