Bryan Price is using this lineup in tonight’s game in Montreal against the Toronto Blue Jays:

  1. Billy Hamilton CF
  2. Joey Votto 1B
  3. Todd Frazier 3B
  4. Devin Mesoraco C
  5. Marlon Byrd LF
  6. Jay Bruce RF
  7. Brandon Phillips 2B
  8. Zack Cozart SS
  9. Marquez Smith DH

Thoughts:

1. Batting Joey Votto #2, hooray. The Book (the modern book, not Dusty Baker’s book) says your best hitter should bat #2. Having Votto’s exceptional OBP at the top of the order is even more important given the likelihood that the Reds leadoff hitter will be below average in that regard.

2. Price has been using Hamilton and now Phillips in the #1 and #7 spots. Whichever of the two has a higher OBP should bat #1 and the other bat #7. Price should consider using a platoon, with BP leading off against LHP. His career OBP (.336) vs LHP is .023 higher than vs. RHP (.313). Hamilton shows a platoon split favoring facing LHP also, but it’s smaller, and based on just one year. His OBP vs. LHP last year was .297.

3. Price has Frazier and Mesoraco ahead of Byrd and Bruce. That’s definitely justified based on their stats.

4. Byrd and Bruce batting #5 and #6 offers Price another opportunity to platoon, with Bruce batting #5 against RHP. Bruce’s career OPS vs. RHP is .819 while Byrd’s is .776 the past two seasons. When facing a LHP, like they are tonight in Mark Buehrle, Byrd should hit ahead of Bruce for now.

5. Jason Marquis faces a tough test in the Blue Jays starting lineup.