With a 1-for-4 performance in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Cubs, Reds first baseman Joey Votto officially ends the 2016 campaign batting .326/.434/.550 with 29 home runs, 97 RBI, and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances. It’s quite a good season, but Votto knows his place in baseball: behind Mike Trout.
Votto was complimentary of the Angels’ outfielder. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Personally, until (Mike) Trout came into the league, I thought every year that I would be in the conversation for best player in the game and he f—–d that up for everybody. Babe Ruth and Ted Williams included. He’s ruining it for everyone.
Votto isn’t wrong. Trout entered Sunday’s action with 10.4 WAR, easily the best mark in baseball and his second 10-WAR season according to Baseball Reference. Among position players dating back to 1901, Trout is one of only 12 players with multiple 10-WAR seasons.
Trout has 9.3 WAR according to FanGraphs and 47.6 total since he debuted in 2011. Miguel Cabrera has the next-most WAR in that span of time, at 34.8.
Thankfully, there’s enough room to recognize both how great Trout is and how great Votto is. Votto, by the way, was the first to hit over .400 in the second half since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004, as MLB’s Stat of the Day Twitter account notes.
With all of the relevant action on Sunday afternoon complete, we now know what to expect when the postseason begins on Tuesday. Here are the dates for the start of each postseason series.
Tuesday, October 4
Wild Card: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre)
Wednesday, October 5
Wild Card: San Francisco Giants at New York Mets (Citi Field)
Thursday, October 6
ALDS Game 1: Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)
ALDS Game 1: [Orioles or Blue Jays] at Texas Rangers (Globe Life Park)
Friday, October 7
NLDS Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals (Nationals Park)
NLDS Game 1: [Giants or Mets] at Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field)
The ALCS begins on Friday, October 14. The NLCS begins on Saturday, October 15. The World Series begins on Tuesday, October 25.
The Tigers were shut out 1-0 by the Braves, which officially clinched the second Wild Card for the Blue Jays. The Jays also took care of their own business, defeating the Red Sox 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. They will host the Orioles, who also clinched a Wild Card berth on Sunday afternoon. The two teams came into the day’s action tied at 88-73.
Devon Travis broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a solo home run off of David Price. Jays starter Aaron Sanchez was working on a no-hitter but it was broken up with two outs in the seventh inning when Hanley Ramirez hit a solo homer down the left field line. The Jays challenged the initial ruling, that the ball was fair, but it was upheld after replay review.
The Jays responded by rallying in the eighth inning against Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler. Josh Donaldson led off with a single and Edwin Encarnacion walked. Jose Bautista grounded into a 5-3 double play, which appeared to be a rally-killer. But Russell Martin reached on an infield single, pushing Encarnacion to third base. Troy Tulowitzki came up and ripped a single to center field to bring in the go-ahead run.
Brett Cecil took over in the bottom of the eighth for Sanchez. Sanchez’s final line: seven innings, two hits, one run, two walks, six strikeouts on 97 pitches. Cecil yielded a single to pinch-hitter Chris Young, then struck out Andrew Benintendi. Joe Biagini came in and saw the Jays out of trouble, getting Dustin Pedroia to ground out and then striking out Brock Holt to end the eighth.
Roberto Osuna took over in the ninth inning. He got Mookie Betts to ground out and David Ortiz to ground out. After walking Ramirez and allowing a single to Xander Bogaerts, Osuna was able to get the final out of the game, a ground out to third base by Jackie Bradley, Jr.