Johnny Cueto got the start for the Reds tonight, and pitched well despite taking the loss. He allowed one run and four hits while striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 innings. Unfortunately for him and the Reds, that wasn't enough to beat Cliff Lee. Lee went the distance for the shutout, fanning seven while allowing just six hits and no walks. Three of Lee's strikeouts were of rookie Chris Heisey, including the one that ended the game.
I didn't realize how well Heisey has played in the limited opportunities that he's received since his call up. Over at redreporter, they suggest that Heisey ought to be getting more playing time, mainly at the expense of Stubbs in center field. Obviously Heisey won't keep up his .481 wOBA (before tonight's game), I think he should be getting more time too. Hopefully they'll let him play with Gomes as DH this week. If they do, I'd like to see the Reds give Heisey a shot to lead off. If you've got to have Cabrera in the lineup, you can at least bat him near the bottom. Heisey would at least provide some hope that the lead off spot might not be wasted.
What of Drew Stubbs then? Should he be benched? He's been OK, but he certainly hasn't been outstanding. Supposedly he plays an excellent center field, but surprisingly, his UZR checks in at -2.6 so far this season. Heisey, on the other hand, has a 0.2 UZR in center field and a 1.9 UZR when you factor in left and right. I imagine Stubbs is probably still the better defender, but I also imagine that he's not nearly the defensive whiz that he's made out to be (at least by the Reds radio broadcast team, although I've seen it suggested elsewhere too). At the plate, Stubbs is nothing special either, posting a .322 wOBA. Still, if you've got to put someone on the bench to make room for Heisey, it has to be Stubbs. Gomes (despite posting a -4.9 UZR in left field) checks in at 0.9 WAR, and Jay Bruce sits at 1.3. After struggling early, Stubbs has come around and now sits at 0.5 WAR. But Heisey is at 0.8 WAR in just 41 plate appearances over 26 games! He's not that good, but he's done enough to warrant a chance. Sure, the Reds look fine in center field, and they've got a huge hole in their bullpen that needs to be addressed, but they may be able to improve their plight if they gave Heisey more - if not most - of those center field at bats and let him do it from the lead off spot.