Joey Votto has yet to hit an infield pop-up this season

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto has a .320 batting average, a .423 on-base percentage that ranks second in the majors, a .590 slugging percentage, 33 home runs and 101 RBI this season over 490 at-bats. 

Still not convinced that Votto is one of the top hitters in all of baseball?  Try this:

According to Rob Neyer of ESPN.com, the Cincinnati slugger has yet to hit an infield pop-up this season.  Seriously.

FanGraphs, an excellent resource for stats both advanced and old-fashioned, has Votto at a 0.0% IFFB (infield fly ball) rate this season over 581 plate appearances.  The great Albert Pujols has a 13.5% IFFB this year.  American League MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera has a 7.5% IFFB.  Josh Hamilton has a 3.3% IFFB.

Votto hit walkoff home run in the 10th inning of Saturday’s 5-4 victory over the Pirates.  His Reds currently own a seven-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central and appear to be locked in for their first postseason appearance since 1995.  Votto and his smooth swing might just nab the NL MVP.

h/t Baseball Think Factory

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.