Brandon Phillips Bats Cleanup as Cincinnati Reds Thump Milwaukee Brewers

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIApril 26, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 22: Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds fields a ground ball against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Now that Scott Rolen has been officially placed on the DL, Cincinnati Reds skipper Dusty Baker moved the lineup around a little bit in the series opener in Milwaukee.

Jay Bruce moved from his usual fifth or sixth spot in the lineup to bat second behind Drew Stubbs. Second baseman Brandon Phillips moved to the cleanup spot, where he batted a couple of years ago.

This begs the question: Why is Bruce not batting in the leadoff slot?

In that address of the batting order, he is hitting .583 with four home runs, seven RBI and three walks in only 15 plate appearances.

The moves apparently paid off in a big way as the Reds crushed the Brewers 9-5 in the opener at Miller Park last night, leap-frogging over them into second place in the NL Central.

Phillips was three-for-four with three RBI, scoring twice.

Drew Stubbs, who was mired in a slump, came up big with a three-for-five night, scoring twice while stealing a pair of bases.

Bruce followed a single by Stubbs with a two-run homer in the third inning.

Jonny Gomes, in somewhat of a slump of his own, singled in a run in the third but suffered the first four-strikeout performance by a Reds batter this season.

On April 13, Gomes had drawn 14 walks and fanned only eight times. Since then he has walked only four times and struck out 15 times.

In his last eight games, he is batting .120 with three RBI, three walks and 11 strikeouts. His BA dropped from .240 to .211, and his OBP has dived from .409 to .376. He is still among the league leaders in home runs with six and in RBI with 16.

There is no need for everybody to begin yelling for Chris Heisey to fill his spot. In the last six games, he is hitting only .125 with a single and five strikeouts.

Joey Votto is continuing his hot hitting is currently second in the NL with a .383 batting average and is the league leader with a .500 OBP.

Phillips is seventh in the league in hitting at .364.

Bronson Arroyo (3-2) contributed his fourth quality start in five attempts, giving up six hits and one earned run, lowering his ERA to 3.64. He was cruising along with a shutout until the Brewers scored an unearned run in the fifth inning on a throwing error from shortstop Paul Janish.

The Reds were ahead 9-3 until Ryan Braun lit up reliever Jordan Smith with a two-run shot in the ninth inning.

Mike Leake (3-0) will start for the Reds on Tuesday, and Marco Estrada (1-1) will pitch for the Brewers.

Wednesday afternoon’s game will feature the Reds' Sam LeCure (0-1) against Yovani Gallardo (2-1).