04/28/2013 1:17 PM ET
Reds seeking better contact vs. top pitching
By Todd Karpovich / Special to MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Reds entered Sunday's finale having scored just four runs in the first three games against the Nationals, who have dominated most of the opposition so far this year.
While manager Dusty Baker gave some credit to the Nationals strong collection of pitchers, he said his players simply have failed to deliver at crucial times.
"Is the pitching good or are we not hitting?" Baker said. "When you're not hitting, everybody looks good. If you want to be around this league and have success, you have to hit good pitching."
The Reds were batting just .122 in the series against Washington before Sunday's finale, including 2-for-56 in the first two games. The Nationals' starters allowed three runs or fewer in the past 12 games, compiling a 3.18 ERA.
"We've hit balls hard and have nothing to show for it too," Baker said. "You cut down the opposition's reaction time by hitting the ball hard."
Dusty shuffles lineup in finale vs. Nationals
WASHINGTON -- Reds manager Dusty Baker made some changes to the lineup to help generate some offense Sunday against the Nationals' lefty Ross Detwiler.
Todd Frazier was back at third base and batted fifth, replacing Jack Hannahan, who started Saturday. Jay Bruce was dropped a spot from the previous day and batted sixth. Xavier Paul also got the start in left field in place of the injured Chris Heisey (hamstring).
Paul has traditionally struggled against lefties, batting .136 as of Sunday, but Baker does not have many options with Ryan Ludwick (shoulder) on the disabled list and Derrick Robinson still battling a rib injury.
"For Paul in Spring Training, most of his at-bats were against left-handers," Baker said. "I told him that it was going to come into play some point in time during the course of the season. I didn't have a clue it was going to be now."
Entering Sunday, Frazier led the team with six home runs and has 19 RBIs. Bruce was just 1-for-10 on the road trip and is batting .255 with one home run.
"Frazier is good against lefties and Bruce has struggled against this guy," Baker said. "It's been a struggle this month for Bruce, period. We need some RBIs, and Frazier has been pretty good with guys on base. Things change during the course of the season. We're in a production business."
In addition, Corky Miller was behind the plate instead of Devin Mesoraco. Miller is still looking for his first hit.
Heisey out of lineup, remains day to day
WASHINGTON -- Reds left fielder Chris Heisey was out of the lineup Sunday after he left the game the previous day with a strained right hamstring.
Heisey injured the leg in the second inning while unsuccessfully trying to beat out a double play. He stayed in the game for the bottom of the second but was removed in the third. He was replaced by Xavier Paul, who also got the start Sunday.
Reds manager Dusty Baker did not provide a further update to Heisey's status prior to Sunday's game, and he remains day to day. Heisey did some light jogging prior to the game.
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.