PHOENIX -- In the wake of squeaking out only three hits and sending the minimum 27 batters to bat in a 4-0 loss to the D-backs and Josh Collmenter on Thursday, manager Bryan Price strongly hinted changes would come to his lineup that has struggled all week.
Those changes certainly came on Friday, but with an unexpected twist. Skip Schumaker started in left field for Ryan Ludwick and Ramon Santiago was at shortstop. The surprise was that usual backup outfielder Roger Bernadina got his first career start at first base over both Brayan Pena and Donald Lutz.
"We have a few guys here with some numbers. All three of them are in the lineup," Price said.
Bernadina (7-for-10), Schumaker (19-for-51) and Santiago (2-for-3) have had past success against D-backs starter Bronson Arroyo.
However, Pena is 6-for-10 on the road trip, including two of the hits Thursday. Lutz, who was a hot hitter in the Minors, has only one start since his callup a week ago. Meanwhile, Bernadina came in struggling and batting .146 this season and never previously played first base before in a professional regular season game.
"Nothing needs to be read into it," Price said. "The only thing is Bernadina hasn't played first base since A ball. He's been working out at it the last few days. We've had a catcher over there in Pena, who had very limited first base experience. And we have Lutz, who only played a couple of games at first base before we called him up. We don't have the most seasoned experienced first-base options here without Joey [Votto]. We've been rolling the dice. Brayan has been doing a great job at first base but I think with this matchup that I needed to get Roger in there and give him a shot based on his past successes against Bronson."
The Reds have scored 12 runs over the previous six games entering Friday, without having scored more than three runs in any game. They've also lost five of six. Price warned that opportunities have now been opened to his bench, but on Friday didn't feel there would be a fight for regulars to remain in the lineup long-term.
"In the end, we've had a month where we've averaged three runs per game -- for an entire month," Price said. "That's not going to be enough to win on a consistent basis. I'm not a big message-sender through lineups. I'd rather just have a good conversation with somebody standing in the outfield as opposed to bringing someone into my office to shame them into thinking they will hit better. I don't work that way. I am going to use the roster.
"If we were more productive offensively, I wouldn't feel the necessity to give some of these guys more playing time. But the guys not playing today will be playing again in this series and will play again on a regular basis in the course of the season."