Re: Brandon Phillips back batting first
Based on what's available right now, I don't mind Phillips leading off. I'd however bat Bruce 2nd and Votto 3rd. IMO, Votto's not getting pitched to because he has no one to protect him in the lineup, but rather because he's forever coming up with the bases empty and 2 outs. Same reason I like Bruce in the 2 spot. I hate predefined roles. The second hitter's job shouldn't be to bunt or hit behind a runner (handles the bat well!), but rather get on base for your 3 hitter who (there's that role again!) is presumably the best hitter on the team.
Now, if the Reds were somehow able to find a leadoff hitter in the offseason, I'd move Brandon down to 5th or 6th (or even 7th) depending on what 3B looks like.
Just have to tip your cap tonight...