Votto (2 HRs) willing Reds into buyer status

Having homered in 4 straight, veteran in 'flow state'; Cincy deals postgame

July 28th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The Reds appear to be buyers heading into Friday's Trade Deadline after they acquired relievers and from the Yankees following their 7-4 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, and ’s performance has surely been a factor in pushing Cincinnati in that direction.

Votto had arguably his finest game of the season, going 2-for-4 with solo home runs in his first two at-bats against Chicago starter Adbert Alzolay, as he helped keep second-place Cincinnati within seven games of National League Central-leading Milwaukee.

Votto's first homer of the night extended his active on-base streak to 21 games and his active streak of games with a home run to four, which tied his career-best stretch (set from April 24-27, 2018) and made the 37-year-old the oldest NL player since 41-year-old Barry Bonds in 2005 to go deep in four straight. The second long ball earned him his 14th career multi-homer game, and even his first out of the night (a lineout to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the fifth) still had an expected batting average of .900.

And then just to prove once again that he’s no one-trick pony, Votto chased down a popup with runners on second and third and Cincinnati up 4-2 in the bottom of the third, reached over the tarp in right field to make the catch and nailed Rafael Ortega with a perfect throw to Tyler Stephenson at the plate.

“I didn’t get a great look, I just saw him have to really lean in and be off balance,” Reds manager David Bell said. “So, to have the presence to come up and make a throw like that ... I’ve seen Joey happy and play with joy and feeling good about his offense, but if it’s possible, I would have to say that his defense is more important to him than his offense.”

“For him to get up there and feel good in his swing, and then he's doing it all on defense -- that's vintage Joey Votto right there,” said , who got the last two outs in the ninth to finish off the win. “He's just aging like fine wine.”

As much as that might seem like just a great night for Votto, it’s really a continuation of his torrid July.

Votto came in slashing .301/.435/.589 in July, including a .460 on-base percentage to go with 17 RBIs since his on-base streak began on July 2. The All-Star break did nothing to slow Votto down, either. In the 11 games since the break, he’s homered six times, driven in 13 runs and owns a .350 average.

“I expect to play like this, truly,” Votto said. “It’s nice. You always want to do well, of course. It’s a pretty specific feeling when you’re doing well. You are in a flow state, of course. Usually, I’m in a flow state when I’m doing well over a long stretch of time. This is not outside of my expectations.”

At the end of his Zoom call, Votto also wanted to give one last unprompted message.

Votto said he’d been thinking recently about some of the “tiffs” he’d gotten in with umpires, and he wanted to reiterate that he doesn’t “like breaking equipment, doing damage to equipment. I don’t like when there’s no hustle, no effort and I don’t like disrespecting my opposition and the umpires.” So, he wanted to say up front that he didn’t want any of that to be part of his game moving forward.

“I want to make a promise to anybody that wants to listen in Cincinnati youth sports and Cincinnati baseball that it is not going to happen anymore,” Votto said. “I would like to make that pact with the community.”

If things keep going the way they did for Votto on Tuesday, there will hardly be an opportunity for him to fall back into any bad habits.