CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Corey Patterson's hitting stats are in a free fall, but it wasn't the driving force behind his not starting on Monday night.
Patterson entered the game vs. the Dodgers in a 0-for-21 skid and he's 1-for-28 over his past 10 games. His batting average dropped from .323 to .186 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
Ryan Freel started in center field for Patterson. Until being informed by a writer after Sunday's game, manager Dusty Baker wasn't even aware that Patterson's slide had gotten that bad.
"We've all been there," Baker said. "It doesn't seem like that, because he's not striking out. Most of the time when a guy is 0-for-something, there's a bunch of punchouts in there."
Baker cited matchup concerns for using Freel, who was batting .429 (6-for-14) lifetime vs. Dodgers starter Brad Penny entering Monday's game. Patterson is a .167 (1-for-6) hitter vs. Penny. Right-handed hitters such as Freel also have better numbers than lefty hitters such as Patterson.
"Ryan, over his career, has been better against right-handers than left-handers, especially a guy throwing fastballs," Baker said. "I'm still in the process of learning my team and where to place guys.
"This is a good day for Corey to go work."
Patterson ended up facing Penny when he pinch-hit for Jeremy Affeldt in the fifth. He extended his slide to 0-for-22, hitting a soft dribbler in front of the plate that Penny pounced on to get Patterson at first.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.