Looking at the Reds’ bats at the break

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For my Thursday column, wrote a review of the Reds’ first half with a look-ahead to the second half. Bryan Price’s club picks up play again Friday night when Cincinnati opens a three-game series against the Derek Jeters in Yankees Stadium.

In the column, touched on what the Reds need to get in the second half – actually it’s less than the second half of the season, given the Reds have already played 95 games – especially from Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey.

Here’s a look at how individual Reds hitters were trending at the All-Star break:

Jay Bruce: The now occasional first baseman had bumped his batting average all the wa up to .249 on June 28 before doing another nosedive which dropped the number to .229 at the break. Bruce was just four-for-25 over Cincinnati’s last seven games of that just-completed homestand. His last home run was July 8 in the first game of a double header against the Cubs.

Zack Cozart: The shortstop has been consistently in the .230s for most of the season and ended the break at .233. He was two-of-15 from the plate in the Reds’ final four games, but continues to be excellent in the field.

Todd Frazier: The All-Star and Home Run Derby participant hit the break on a six-game hitting streak with a homer in each of the final two games against Pittsburgh. He drove in five runs in the final two games.

Billy Hamilton: Keeps getting better and better. The centerfielder was six-for-15 in the Pittsburgh series. Hamilton has 19 doubles on the year and six triples, including two triples in the past six games. Hamilton has been thrown out three of his last four times attempting to steal.

Chris Heisey: Hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer against Pittsburgh last Saturday, then followed that up with three hits on Sunday. Reds hope that will get Heisey’s bat going. He’s hitting just .236 on the year. And if Bruce gets more time at first base in Joey Votto’s absence, Heisey will see more time in the outfield.

Ryan Ludwick: Price seems to want to pick his spots with Ludwick in the lineup. He’s played in 70 of the Reds 95 games to this point. He’s hitting .269 with six homers and was seven-for-15 in his last three games before the break.

Devin Mesoraco: Another Reds’ All-Star, just when Mesoraco appears to be dipping a bit, the pop returns to his bat. He was two-for-two last Sunday to hit the break with a .304 batting average. He has 16 homers and 45 RBI. That’s in 60 games, mind you.

Brayan Pena: The catcher/first baseman has come back to earth at the plate, but Pena has been invaluable as a utility man. Plus, you just love to see that guy smiling. He was three-for-19 in his last four games before the break.

Brandon Phillips: Big question is when the star second baseman will return after having surgery on his left thumb July 11. Phillips was on three-game hitting steak at the time of his injury and is hitting .272. His first-half high was .281 on June 18.

Ramon Santiago: The utility infielder had not done much until the final homestand before the break. He went 10-for-24 at the plate and is now the second baseman with Phillips on the shelf.

Skip Schumaker: The numbers may not bear it out — .240 batting average with one homer and 14 RBI – but the former Cardinal has proved to be a valuable pickup. Schumaker can play multiple positions, both infield and outfield, and has demonstrated a hard-nosed attitude.

Joey Votto: The oft-injured first baseman is back on the disabled list, and though Price insists the timetable is “weeks not months” the belief is Votto will need an off-season to get his troublesome quad back to full strength. When Votto returned to the lineup after his first stint on the DL, he went 14-for-44 (.318), but as the games piled up it was obvious Votto’s leg wasn’t right. He was just five-for-28 over his last eight games before being put on the DL.

We’ll look at the Reds pitchers on Friday.

Photo of Todd Frazier last Sunday vs. Pittsburgh by AP.

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