Votto in a slump
Reds lineup vs. Orioles
*Although he often gets that big clutch hit when the Reds really need it, Joey Votto hasn’t been his usual robust self at the plate. In his last 11 games, Votto is batting .182 (8-for-44) with 11 strikeouts and a .282 OBP. He has also gone nine games without a home run, with the last one coming June 13 at Los Angeles. Might it be time for an off day? Votto last got one on May 9 at Houston and went on a pretty strong tear after that.
***UPDATE — I asked manager Dusty Baker about resting Votto sometime soon and there are no plans to do it, especially with the tough teams ahead on the schedule — Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis and Milwaukee.
“Now is the time you dig deep and try to play through the [All-Star] break. I thought about it,” Baker said. “He’s just off. He’s not tired. They’re pitching him tough. The American League clubs are pitching him real tough. He may be frustrated but he’s not physically tired. One thing is he’s showing he’s human. Sometimes you forget that stars are human and capable of ups and downs. We’ve just been so spoiled because he has very few extended down periods. I wouldn’t mind being down and hitting .318. One thing for sure is you know he’s going to get hot again. Count on it.”
Votto, who was the ballpark early today doing extra work, said that some technical glitches in his swing have been spotted by Baker, hitting coach Brook Jacoby and even teammate Edgar Renteria noticed something.
“It’s hard for me, even watching video, to see some of the technical mistakes I’m making,” Votto said. “But luckily I have some good people surrounding me and they’ve pointed out some things that were off a little bit with my swing and causing me to miss a lot of the pitches I’ve been given lately. Over the past month, I’ve been getting plenty of pitches to hit. I haven’t been taking advantage of them. It’s a mechanical thing. It’s my fault.
“You have some many components to success. For hitting a baseball, for hitting success, those smaller adjustments can really make a big difference. I kept scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on? Why am I not driving the ball? Why am I missing certain pitches I wasn’t missing before? It helps when you’ve got good eyes on you. It takes time. This will pass. With or without their help, I’m going to get through this.”
*By a .001 percentage point. the Reds are in fourth place for the first time this season and behind the Pirates.
*The Reds’ first-inning ERA of 6.66 (77ip, 57er) ranks 29th in the Majors, behind only the Royals (6.81, 75.1ip, 57er)
*At Triple-A Louisville, Dontrelle Willis pitched eight innings and allowed four runs and eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts for a 5-4 win over Toledo last night. In 12 starts, Willis is 5-2 with a 2.74 ERA, 19 walks and 61 strikeouts.