CHICAGO -- Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said the clubhouse atmosphere has improved as his team's offense has picked up.
"We're enjoying it more and it certainly cures a lot of different ailments, that's for sure," Price said on Friday. "It's lighter. I think there was a heaviness because we certainly have a lot of expectations and we got off to a slow start.
"It was a palpable feeling of frustration."
The Reds won four of their last five games after Friday's 4-1 victory over a Chicago Cubs team they dominated with 24 wins in the last 30 games, and 16 of the last 17 at Wrigley Field.
The victory gave the Reds a three-game winning streak, a first for this season.
"We've swung the bats well, we're pitching really good baseball at home in Cincinnati, had a great series against Pittsburgh and want continue that in Chicago," Price said.
Price has not tinkered much with his lineup, with one exception. First baseman Joey Votto batted in the No. 2 spot since April 12 and hit .294 with 30 runs in that span.
"Having Joey closer to the top of the lineup in the No. 2 hole is a high-percentage guy who has hit some homers as well as set the table for other guys," Price said.
"Joe can satisfy a lot of different spots in the order. It's not a curse that he's an on-base percentage guy, it's certainly a benefit, but I also believe he's more than capable and (has) proven he's (also) a quality No. 3 hitter.
STREAK: Won three
NEXT: Reds (LHP Tony Cingrani, 1-1, 2.60 ERA) at Cubs (RHP Edwin Jackson, 0-1, 6.19 ERA)
--1B Joey Votto batted second since April 12 and has hit .294 with 30 runs scored in that span. "Having Joey closer to the top of the lineup in the No. 2 hole is a high-percentage guy who has hit some homers as well as set the table for other guys," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "(But) Joe can satisfy a lot of different spots in the order. It's not a curse that he's a on-base percentage guy-- it's certainly a benefit --but I also believe he's more than capable and proven he's (also) a quality No. 3 hitter."
--LHP Sean Marshall remains on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left shoulder but accompanied the Reds to Chicago and could be activated soon. "He pitched back-to-back days for (Triple-A) Louisville," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He felt good, his velocity is climbing back up and it's really good to see. His breaking ball has been great. We're looking at some time during this trip -- maybe this trip through Chicago." Marshall allowed two hits and 1 earned run in two wins with Louisville earlier this week.
--RHP Alfredo Simon (1-1, 1.20 ERA) picked up his second win in three starts, holding the Chicago Cubs to a single run on four hits in the Reds 4-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Friday. "He's been terrific," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "It's been a couple of things: he's coming off two really good years -- back-to-back-- in our bullpen. He was certainly used a lot more in 2013 than he was in 2012 and was some higher leverage situations in our bullpen last year. He has a history as a starter and he wants to start. ... He's got the (pitching) repertoire and he's doing a very good job of pitching ahead in the count and executing pitches." Simon now has a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings pitched.
--INF/OF Skip Schumaker remains on the disabled list following a left shoulder dislocation, but continues in a strengthening program. "He's swinging the bat (but) he's still not quite ready to play in games yet," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's still doing a lot of work in getting his shoulder at full strength and getting all the soreness out. He went from hitting off the tee to getting into the cages and swinging the bat. He's able to take ground balls, he's doing all his running stuff and throwing." But Price declined to specify when Schumaker, who batted .263 with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, might go on a rehab assignment.
--2B Brandon Phillips (back spasms) was removed from Friday's game in the third inning because of back spasms and was replaced by Ramon Santiago. Phillips appeared to hurt his lower back on a swing while at bat in the first inning. Reds manager Bryan Price said he pulled Phillips as a precaution.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He has been remarkable. He's wanted more opportunity; we've given that to him. It was a good idea that we brought him into camp to start in case we had an injury or didn't have the depth, and it's our good fortune that he came in ready to go." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, o RHP Alfredo Simon after a 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
--2B Brandon Phillips (back spasms) left a game April 18 early. Reds manager Bryan Price said he pulled Phillips as a precaution.
--LHP Sean Marshall (left shoulder) pitched back-to-back days April 15-16. Marshall could rejoin the club April 18-20.
--LHP Aroldis Chapman (fractures above eye, nose) threw 25 pitches off the mound April 14 and will throw again April 17. He is expected to throw up to four bullpens before possibly being cleared to throw live batting practice. Chapman will remain on an every-third day bullpen schedule with increasing pitch-counts.
--INF Skip Schumaker (left shoulder) is playing catch and hitting off a tee. It is not yet determined when he'll be sent out for a rehab appearance.
--RHP Mat Latos (right elbow surgery in October 2013, left knee surgery in February 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He started on April 3 for Double-A Pensacola, but was scratched from a rehab start April 9 for Triple-A Louisville in Columbus after reporting inflammation. He threw a bullpen session on April 11. As of April 13, he will be shut down for 10-14 days due to a flexor mass strain.
--RHP Jonathan Broxton (right elbow surgery in August 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He spent two games on a rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola, and he was activated April 8.
--RHP Trevor Bell (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8.
--INF Jack Hannahan (right shoulder surgery in October 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He still was not able to throw across the diamond at game speed as spring ended.
--RHP Brett Marshall (strained tendon in right middle finger) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30.
RHP Johnny Cueto
LHP Tony Cingrani
RHP Homer Bailey
RHP Mike Leake
RHP Alfredo Simon
RHP Jonathan Broxton (closer)
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Sam LeCure
RHP Logan Ondrusek
LHP Manny Parra
RHP Curtis Partch
RHP Nick Christiani
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zack Cozart
3B Todd Frazier
INF Ramon Santiago
INF Neftali Soto
LF Ryan Ludwick
CF Billy Hamilton
RF Jay Bruce
OF Chris Heisey
OF Roger Bernadina
- Sports & Recreation
- Bryan Price
- Joey Votto
- Chicago Cubs
- Alfredo Simon
- Brandon Phillips