NEW YORK -- The Reds' defense, among the best in Major League Baseball, has managed to remain consistent despite the shuffling of pieces in and out of the lineup recently.
Without eight-time Gold Glove third baseman Scott Rolen -- on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder -- and regular center fielder Drew Stubbs -- on the DL with an oblique injury -- the Reds remain the second-best defensive club in the National League in terms of errors and fielding percentage entering Sunday's game.
"Defense is something we work on, something we stress here," manager Dusty Baker said. "It's a tough sell sometimes, especially in an offensive-minded world. There's people thinking you have a good year because you can hit. Kids coming up from the Minor Leagues because you can hit. But if you're gonna play winning baseball, you can't drive in two and let in three."
The Reds' fielding percentage (.986) is one point shy of Arizona's top mark in the NL, and Cincinnati also has just one more error (32) than the D-backs. The Reds have not committed an error in the first two games of their series in New York.
Rolen, rehabbing this weekend with Triple-A Louisville, is expected to rejoin the club on Monday in Cleveland.
"Nobody's better than Scott Rolen," Baker said. "Nobody gets to balls like Scott Rolen. Nobody throws the ball as accurate across the diamond. I've only had a couple guys throw as accurately every time."
Rolen on track for Monday return
NEW YORK -- Reds third baseman Scott Rolen hit a three-run homer in a rehab game for Triple-A Louisville on Saturday, and Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday that the plan remains for Rolen to rejoin the club on Monday in Cleveland.
"Since he didn't get hurt, and we'll find out the conditions of how his legs feel and his back [he should return Monday]," Baker said. "When you haven't played, and you're bending up and down and bending over for nine innings, it's like starting all over again in Spring Training almost. If you're playing your position and playing it properly, you're doing movements you have to condition for a month or six weeks to do."
Rolen, who was expected to participate in two rehab games, went 2-for-6 in two games with Louisville this weekend.
The 37-year-old has appeared in 29 games for the Reds this year, batting .174 with two homers and 11 RBIs. It remains to be seen how Baker will reshuffle his lineup card with Todd Frazier, who has filled in admirably in Rolen's absence.
Frazier has hit .278 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 43 games, but also has experience at other positions.
Reds' entire bullpen has been strong
NEW YORK -- As much deserved attention as Aroldis Chapman has received in the back end of the Reds' bullpen this summer, his fellow relievers have been equally formidable, providing the club with the top bullpen staff in the National League.
Cincinnati relievers lead the NL in bullpen ERA (2.63) and opponents' batting average (.205), while ranking second in strikeouts (211, to Colorado's 228) entering Sunday.
They have not allowed an earned run through four innings this weekend in New York.
"Their bullpen's deep," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "You see what it's like at the end of the games, especially for us. They've got those two good lefties down there at the end of a game, and when you're behind, it puts us behind the eight-ball for sure."
Chapman has a 1.06 ERA and eight saves on the year, striking out 59 in 34 innings. Sean Marshall (eight), Jose Arredondo (one) and Logan Andrusek (two) also have saves this season.
"Our bullpen has been doing so good that, once you're out of the game, you're feeling pretty confident they're gonna lock it down," said right-hander Homer Bailey.
Each of the relievers on Cincinnati's current roster have an ERA of 3.33 or less, and four have an ERA of 2.70 or less.