Tag: Joey Votto

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Looking at the All-Star team snubs and surprises


For all of the complaining people like to do about All-Star teams, the voting process and all of that, the fact is that All-Star squads of the past several years have been pretty good. Part of that is that the rosters are so big now that it’s hard to truly “snub” someone. Also operating here is the unspoken fact that a good many guys beg out because of injuries — or “injuries” and ultimately most of the guys who truly want to be there and deserve to be there are actually there.

Still, there are always some weird things and oddities with All-Star rosters so, in the wake of last night’s announcement of the rosters and the Final Vote guys, let’s look at a couple of them.

Most interesting thing: None of the specific players chosen or not chosen is the most interesting thing to me. No, the most interesting thing is what seems to be Ned Yost’s desire to actually win this game and manage it like a regular game. His selection of relievers Darren O’Day, Brad Boxberger and Kelvin Herrera, along with choosing Brock Holt, who is basically a utility guy, as his Red Sox representative makes his roster look more like an actual baseball team than an All-Star team. Mixing and matching, hard-throwing relievers and a super-sub give Yost flexibility to manage the heck out of the game, for better or for worse.

Biggest Snubs: Like I said above, there are no shockers or atrocities here. Brian Dozier not making it stinks — some people think he’s the best second baseman in the game — but with Jose Altuve and Jason Kipnis in the AL, it’s hard to add him. Bruce Bochy picked his guy Madison Bumgarner over Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez and Johnny Cueto, even though all three of them are having better seasons than Bumgarner is, Cueto and Martinez by a decent margin. Justin Turner could be the NL equivalent of Brock Holt — someone who can play many positions — and is hitting the daylights out of the ball, but Bochy is looking at things differently than Yost, apparently.

The Final Vote: A-Rod and Joey Votto not even making the Final Vote thing is lame, but (a) A-Rod isn’t winning any final vote unless I’m 51% of the electorate; and (b) both of them are either old or fragile enough to where they could use some time off. The same excuse doesn’t hold for Carlos Correa, who may be one of the most exciting young players in baseball and plays short at a time when shortstop is a wasteland. He should be on there, but the remaining guys are more famous, so that’s how it goes. The NL has only one position player in the Final Vote — Troy Tulowitzki — which means that there’s a good chance that the NL All-Star team is going to have 14 pitchers. Wheeee!

The Upshot: This is the All-Star Game we have now. It’s geared toward not having ties, not running out of players, especially pitchers, and not showcasing the biggest names in the game for more than a couple of innings. Everyone gets a representative, almost everyone gets to play and it resembles baseball as we know it far less than anything else that happens during the season. In light of that we don’t have a lot of snubs — almost everyone gets to come! — but we likewise don’t get to truly see a clash of the Best vs. Best, and that’s a little sad.

Albert Pujols is hitting like ALBERT PUJOLS again


At age 35 and after three underwhelming Angels seasons Albert Pujols seemed to have settled into being a good but not great player, but suddenly he’s hitting like the pre-free agency Cardinals version–also known as ALBERT PUJOLS–again.

Pujols homered twice Monday night against the Astros, giving him 15 homers in his last 24 games and a league-leading 23 homers on the season.

His current .917 OPS is Pujols’ highest since 2010, when he finished runner-up in the MVP voting to Joey Votto of the Reds. And once you adjust for offensive levels being down across baseball, his OPS+ of 156 is well above his mark of 128 for the Angels from 2012-2014 and a shade below his mark of 170 for the Cardinals from 2001-2011.

Pujols’ great overall production in St. Louis involved huge batting averages, outstanding strike-zone control, and big-time power. Right now it’s mostly just the big-time power, because he’s hitting .275 and has just 21 walks in 283 plate appearances for a walk rate that’s nearly half of what is was during his peak. However, during his last 35 games Pujols has hit .328 with 17 homers, more walks than strikeouts, and a 1.168 OPS.

Video: Joey Votto made an incredible play at first base

joey votto getty

In case you missed this wonderful play that Joey Votto made Saturday night at Wrigley Field …

Votto also homered in the game, but the Reds wound up losing 4-3 to the host Cubbies.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Bartolo Colon

source: Getty Images

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Bartolo Colon is cunning. He set up this RBI double by intentionally hitting poorly for 18 seasons, lulling Ichiro into a false sense of security which caused him to play extremely shallow, thereby being unable to cut off the ball turning this into an RBI double:


Colon playing the long con. I love it.

Reds 8, Nationals 2: Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips each homered and drove in two and Joey Votto drew a three-ball walk which no one noticed at the time:


I get you, me and any other fan losing the count. And I get a broadcaster losing the count on occasion as they have a lot of stuff they’re keeping track of. But I’m not sure how the ump, pitcher, catcher and batter can. Maybe one of ’em. But all of ’em? Or maybe Votto didn’t lose it but just heard the ump say “ball 3!” or “ball 4!” and went with it? Oh well, that ended up being a six-run inning for the Reds who swept the Nats.

Rockies 4, Phillies 1: Everyone got mildly excited when the Phillies won six in a row not too long ago. Now they’ve lost seven in a row so did it even happen? The Rockies, meanwhile, have won four straight and seven of eight. Of course come October they’ll both be home and we’ll wonder whether any of this mattered, and we’ll be forced, once again, to consider how matchups between teams going nowhere serve as an apt metaphor for the futility of life when nothing awaits us other than certain death. Or, um, maybe I’m the only one who does that.

Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 6: If that Phillies-Rockies recap wasn’t depressing enough for you, how about extending the metaphor to a crazy exciting life, filled with highs and lows, yet still ending in the grave? Because that’s what you can take away from a 17-inning game between two losing teams which ends on a walkoff homer. Add in the notion that the walkoff was hit by Martin Maldonado, who was batting .157/.222/.209 before yesterday, and it also provides a metaphor for the fundamental injustice of those less worthy than you doing better in life. Bright side: those people die one day too.

Twins 6, Blue Jays 5: Hi, it’s June and Minnesota has the best record in the American League. As noted above, futility and certain death are a part of life, but there is also serendipity and surprise too, which makes it all worth while. Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer, and Torii Hunter had a go-ahead double in the seventh. The last time the Twins had a 20-win month was the month I graduated from high school: June 1991. The choir sang “One Moment in Time” at that graduation ceremony. Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was released three months later. And the month after that the Twins were World Series champions.

Rays 9, Orioles 5: When you have two dudes who hit two home runs in a game, you usually win that game, I’d reckon. Here Delmon Young and Manny Machado each went deep twice but the O’s got beat anyway. Baseball, man. Steve Souza Jr. homered for his third straight game for the Rays and Jake Odorizzi got some rare run support from everyone else.

White Sox 6, Astros 0: John Danks allowed 10 hits, including five extra-base hits, yet still pitched a shutout. That’s some 80-grade scattering. The last time a pitcher gave up 10 hits in a shutout was Carlos Silva, 11 years ago. No one has done it with five of those hits going for extra bases dating back to 1914, which is as far back the STATS, Inc. people have all of the relevant stats of which this factoid is comprised.

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 1: Carlos Martinez pitched one-hit ball over seven shutout innings. He now has 20 and a third scoreless innings. Jhonny Peralta homered and drove in all three of the Cardinals’ runs.

Cubs 2, Royals 1: A walkoff RBI single in the 11th for David Ross and the Cubs. Or the Whales, which is the old Federal League club they were honoring with their throwbacks yesterday:


Pretty sweet. Including that authentic matte batting helmet which I assume everyone in the Federal League wore. The league went belly-up due to the fact that fabricated plastics weren’t really available in 1915 and thus each batting helmet had to be created from mined plastic. The only plastic mines at the time were located in Belgium, which made it insanely expensive and dangerous for plastic miners due to the war. Really, if the people who ran the Federal League were more pragmatic, it may still exist today.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: Josh Hamilton came in to pinch hit in the ninth and smacked a walk-off two-run double. According to ESPN, it was the first pinch hit, walkoff double for the Rangers since Sept. 8, 1991. Which was 15 days before Nirvana’s “Nevermind” came out and . . . stop looking at me like that. If the STATS and ESPN people can trot out somewhat interesting but basically meaningless and non-predictive or explanatory stats to fill out their copy, so can I.

Athletics 3, Yankees 0: Jesse Chavez wasn’t John Danks or anything, but he did scatter seven hits over eight shutout innings. All the runs came off the bat of Stephen Vogt, who hit a two-run homer and had a sac fly. Martinez-Peralta, Chavez-Vogt: yesterday’s two-man teams.

Braves 7, Giants 5: The Bravos managed a four-run ninth inning off of Santiago Casilla, highlighted by a Jace Peterson bases-loaded triple. A little before that Freddie Freeman hit a homer. So I guess homers don’t always kill rallies. Sometimes they start them.

Indians 6, Mariners 3: Three runs in the 12th inning for Cleveland, including a two-run single from David Murphy. The Mariners were lucky to get to extras here, actually, notching only five hits in the whole dang game. Jason Kipnis had two doubles. His May: .429/.511/.706 4 homers, 17 RBI and 30 runs scored. He also is not even in the top 5 for All-Star voting at second base.

Angels 4, Tigers 2: The Angles sweep the sputtering Tigers in four games. David Price after the game:

“It’s frustrating. We’re not playing the way we’re capable of playing right now,” Price said. “Every team goes through it, and every team is going to feel this throughout 162 games. So you’ve just got to grind through it. We know we’re a better team. Everybody knows that.”

That’s true. And it has often been true of the Tigers in recent years. But in recent years the AL Central has not been anywhere near as good as it is this year, what with the Royals and Twins playing as well as they have and with the Indians and White Sox being far stronger teams than their current records suggest. I have not written off the Tigers nor should anyone else, but I feel like things are a lot different now than they have been since the Verlander-Cabrera Tigers came to prominence.

Padres 7, Pirates 1Odrisamer Despaigne allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings. It’s the best pitching performance by a person whose name could easily pass for the name of a high-end Belgian ale in baseball history. Seriously, go put that on Untapped and people will start rating it and acting like the only reason you haven’t heard of it is because it’s only available in their town right now. “Try the Tripel,” your friend will say. “If you can find it anyway.”

Joey Votto drew a three-ball walk

Joey Votto

The baseball world is well aware of Reds first baseman Joey Votto’s ability to draw walks. But we figured that he, like everyone else, would always need to see four pitches out of the strike zone to do so. Ah, not so.

In the seventh inning on Sunday, Votto drew a three-ball walk against Nationals reliever Matt Grace. The Reds had already scored once to break a 2-2 tie prior to the walk, but they went on to score five more en route to an 8-2 win. James Wagner of the Washington Post went back to the video and confirmed that Votto indeed drew the walk on three balls. See for yourself:

Votto finished 1-for-3 on the afternoon with a single along with the walk in the win. He is batting .282/.383/.492 with nine home runs and 24 RBI in 205 plate appearances this season.