CINCINNATI -- Manager Dusty Baker has heard the criticism, from the ballpark to the bank.
The Reds have spent 52 days in first place in the National League Central and begin August just a half-game behind the first-place Cardinals. But Baker said he's still feeling the heat from fans.
"You're too traditional," Baker said a fan told him prior to Saturday night's 5-2 victory over the Braves. "He said I wanted speed at the top of the lineup instead of an on-base-percentage guy. I said, 'OK, pick one.' I hear it all the time. Am I throwing? Am I hitting? Am I pitching?"
Baker was told by someone that they had spoken to a bank teller who blamed him for Friday night's 10-inning loss to Atlanta.
"At the bank, it was my fault, too, huh?" Baker said. "That's what happens sometimes, people appreciate you more when you're not here. That's OK."
Heisey, Nix start in place of Stubbs, Gomes
CINCINNATI -- Sunday won't be a day of rest for a pair of red-hot Reds outfielders.
Chris Heisey will start in center field and Laynce Nix will play left in Sunday afternoon's series finale against Atlanta.
Drew Stubbs, who is mired in a 1-for-36 skid and hitless in his past 10 at-bats, was given the day off. Stubbs is batting .229 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs, but he has seemed out of sorts at the plate lately.
"Stubbs is a little lost right now," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He's ahead of curveballs and breaking balls and behind fastballs. That's when you know you're in no-man's land. He needs to find himself."
With Stubbs on the bench, Baker realizes the Reds will be sacrificing some defense.
"Defense gets you in a game, offense keeps you in a game," Baker said. "Late in a game, nobody runs balls down in center like Stubbs. But you have to bring some offense, too."
Stubbs' struggles create an opportunity for Heisey, who's dazzled with both the bat and glove in recent games. Heisey leads the team with four homers and six RBIs as a pinch-hitter. He went high above the wall to rob the Braves' Brooks Conrad of a home run on Friday night.
"I understand my role is to come off the bench," Heisey said. "Everyone wants to play every day. But there's no certainty. I just come out and do my best every day. I've had a lot of success coming off the bench."
Heisey has reached base in 12 of his past 22 pinch-hit appearances. But, while Heisey's recent production has made a case for more playing time, Baker said he's still a work in progress.
"Everybody likes the backup quarterback." Baker said. "But he's still learning to hit. He's a good student, and he listens. I'm trying to put him in position to succeed."
Nix, who has nine hits in his past 11 at-bats, starts in place of Jonny Gomes.
"It's mostly it's about getting the hot Nix in there," said Baker. "He's swinging the bat as well as I've seen him."
Bailey progresses in second rehab start
CINCINNATI -- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey pitched well in his second rehab start on Saturday night.
In Triple-A Louisville's 10-2 victory over Columbus, Bailey allowed just three hits in 6 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out three.
Bailey improved to 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in two rehab appearances. In 10 2/3 innings, he's allowed seven hits, three earned runs, three walks and has eight strikeouts.
Outfielder Chris Dickerson continued to impress in his rehab stint, going 1-for-4 with two walks and two runs scored for the Bats on Saturday.
Dickerson is hitting .382 with two home runs, four RBIs, five stolen bases and a .476 on-base percentage in 11 games.
Sunday afternoon's series finale against Atlanta is a sellout, giving the Reds three consecutive sellouts for the first time since June 2004, when Ken Griffey Jr. was chasing his 500th career home run. Sunday's packed house is the seventh sellout at Great American Ball Park this season, the 52nd since the ballpark opened in 2003.
Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.