Tag: Joey Votto

Bryce Harper

Tony Cingrani hits Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch, then complains he was too slow getting to first base


Reds reliever Tony Cingrani hit Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game against the Nationals. Here’s the video. Putting Harper on first base meant that the tying run was only 270 feet away from home plate, so it’s difficult to see Cingrani wanting to hit Harper on purpose in that situation.

As Harper was hit square in the back, he took his time getting to first base. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, first baseman Joey Votto was not happy about the way Harper handled the situation, for some reason. He was 0-for-3 to that point, so it wasn’t like he gawked at a home run.

Cingrani wasn’t happy about Harper, either.

Harper is still only 22 years old, but he’s in his fourth year in the majors and has unquestionably been the best player in baseball so far this season. For whatever reason, some players like Harper — as well as Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez — become lightning rods with which older players use to make points about the unwritten rules.

Grant Brisbee wrote a terrific column about baseball’s unwritten rules at SB Nation recently, which certainly has relevance here.

Stephen Strasburg exits start in the second inning with an apparent injury

Stephen Strasburg

Update: Strasburg’s issue is with his left trap muscle, per MASN’s Dan Kolko. He’ll be evaluated on Saturday.

Some bad news that could lead to some worse news for the Nationals: starter Stephen Strasburg left in the second inning of Friday night’s start against the Reds. He walked leadoff batter Brayan Pena, then was attended to by the team trainer before walking off the mound. Taylor Jordan relieved him. Strasburg had allowed one run on a first-inning Joey Votto home run.

This isn’t the first injury scare the the Nationals have had with Strasburg this season. He left a start earlier this month due to discomfort under his shoulder blade but only had his next start moved back as opposed to landing on the disabled list. Strasburg has struggled, carrying a 6.55 ERA, a 1.72 WHIP, and a 45/14 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.

As soon as more information is known about Strasburg’s status, we’ll update you here.

Play of the Day: Joey Votto makes a ridiculous throw to complete a double play

Joey Votto

Reds first baseman Joey Votto completed a 3-6 double play with a rather unorthodox throw in the second inning of Saturday afternoon’s game against the Indians. With Brandon Moss on first base following a leadoff walk, Nick Swisher hit a grounder to Votto. Votto stepped on the bag for the first out. Then, with his momentum taking him in the opposite direction of second base, Votto flipped the ball like a pitcher with a submarine delivery to shortstop Zack Cozart, who applied the tag on Moss for the second out on the play.

Votto also finished the day 2-for-4 with a double. Along with superb defense at first base, Votto is batting .289/.386/.480 with seven home runs and 21 RBI on the season.

The best and worst MLB lineups have had to offer so far

Dee Gordon

This is a quick look at lineup spots by team through the first five weeks of the season, which have been the most productive and which have been the least. I’m just using OPS, so don’t take this as a study of any sort.

No. 1 hitters
1. Marlins – .894 (.422 OBP)
2. Cardinals – .894 (.387 OBP)
3. Rockies – .880 (.359 OBP)

league avg – .727 (.326 OBP)

28. White Sox – .580 (.287 OBP)
29. Reds – .500 (.233 OBP)
30. Athletics – .487 (.223 OBP)

The Marlins and Yankees are the lone teams getting a .400 OBP from the leadoff spot this year, and while that’s always been the ideal to shoot for, there’s hardly any chance of any team staying that high all season. Last year, only the Cardinals (.369) and Astros (.353) had even .350 OBPs from the leadoff spot.

No. 2 hitters
1. Reds – 1.084
2. Blue Jays – 1.001
3. Angels – .939

league avg – .751

28. Rangers – .560
29. Braves – .551
30. Brewers – .489

The Reds started off with Joey Votto batting second, and he was awesome, amassing an 1.173 OPS with a .474 OBP, six homers and 15 RBI in 17 games. So, of course, they dropped him back to third. Fortunately, Zack Cozart and Marlon Byrd have been pretty great in the two hole themselves, but that’s not going to last.

No. 3 hitters
1. Diamondbacks – 1.074
2. Cubs – 1.056
3. Dodgers – 1.045

league avg – .803

28. Nationals – .614
29. Rays – .557
30. Phillies – .515

The Diamondbacks are exclusively Paul Goldschmidt: he’s started all 32 games batting third.

No. 4 hitters
1. Mariners – 1.155
2. Nationals – .986
3. Royals – .975

league avg – .778

28. Twins – .608
29. Phillies – .576
30. Angels – .574

And the Mariners are all Nelson Cruz: he’s started every game in the cleanup spot and blown away the field.

What’s shocking, or at least would have been over the winter, is that this is the first of four appearances for the Angels in the bottom trio. The cleanup spot used to be Josh Hamilton’s. Now it’s 16 games from David Freese, 12 from Matt Joyce and five from Kole Calhoun (whom they much prefer hitting leadoff).

No. 5 hitters
1. Rockies – .949
2. Athletics – .949
3. Cubs – .846

league avg – .737

28. Angels – .614
29. Phillies – .588
30. Yankees – .576

Just because of the difference in hitting environments, Oakland’s .949 is more impressive than Colorado’s .949. They’re primary No. 5 hitter, Ike Davis, is at .867, but Stephen Vogt has provided quite a boost, with five homers in eight games batting fifth.

No. 6 hitters
1. Yankees – 1.023
2. Royals – .930
3. Dodgers – .869

league avg – .722

28. Cardinals – .549
29. Red Sox – .546
30. Reds – .535

The Yankees being dead last at No. 5 and way out in front at No. 6 is some sort of bizarre fluke. Brian McCann, primarily the No. 5 hitter, has a respectable .704 OPS in 21 games there, but Carlos Beltran (.407 in seven games) and Chase Headley (.435 in four games) have been horrible, dragging it down. On the other hand, both Beltran (.848 in nine games) and Headley (.824 in nine games) have been just fine as No. 6 hitters and they’re further bolstered by Chris Young (1.271 OPS, four HR in seven games) and Alex Rodriguez (2.528 OPS, three HR in three games)

No. 7 hitters
1. Dodgers – .933
2. White Sox – .828
3. Orioles – .787

league avg – .658

28. Red Sox – .434
29. Rangers – .425
30. Angels – .423

It’s the third of four appearances for the Dodgers in the top three. This one is truly a committee. Juan Uribe has started 15 of 32 games as a No. 7 hitter, but he has a modest .668 OPS. Alex Guerrero, Andre Ethier, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson have combined for 15 starts and hit .444 with five homers in 54 at-bats.

Boston, which entered the year with seemingly the game’s deepest lineup, shows up near the bottom for the second straight spot, courtesy of Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Allen Craig. Their No. 7 hitters have combined for seven RBI in 33 games, five of them coming in Daniel Nava’s six starts.

No. 8 hitters
1. Reds – .932
2. Dodgers – .898
3. Marlins – .846

league avg – .673

28. Diamondbacks – .474
29. Angels – .392
30. Cubs – .297

The Reds take the cake for the most inconsistency by lineup spot this year. They top the list at No. 2 and No. 8 while also being last at No. 6 and next to last at No. 1. They don’t have any lineup spot in the .700-.800 OPS range. Their presence here is Cozart doing Cozart things, with some help from Brayan Pena. Even Skip Schumaker went 3-for-5 with two RBI in his one game batting eighth and he’s 4-for-27 with no RBI over the rest of the year.

The Cubs at No. 30 gets a big asterisk here; they’ve exclusively gone with their pitcher batting eighth. For the record, their No. 9 hitters have a .630 OPS.

No. 9 hitters (AL only)
1. Angels – .721
2. Blue Jays – .671
3. Tigers – .648

league avg – .583

13. Royals – .484
14. Rays – .480
15. Indians – .476

We’re taking the NL teams out of this mix and just looking at the AL squads. Oddly enough, the Angels top the list; their No. 9 hitters, mostly Johnny Giavotella, have a higher OPS than any of the spots from No. 3 through No. 8.

So, the absolute best of the lineups to date:

1. Marlins – Dee Gordon
2. Reds – Joey Votto
3. Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt
4. Mariners – Nelson Cruz
5. Rockies – Nolan Arenado
6. Yankees – Chris Young
7. Dodgers – Alex Guerrero
8. Reds – Zack Cozart
9. Angels – Johnny Giavotella

White Sox prospect Carlos Rodon gets the win in his first major league start

Carlos Rodon

White Sox prospect Carlos Rodon made his major league debut on April 21, but as a long reliever. In 6 1/3 innings over three relief appearances, he allowed two runs on nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts.

Rodon started the second game of Saturday’s double-header against the Reds, pitching in the place of the suspended Jeff Samardzija. While it wasn’t a permanent move into the rotation — the White Sox will likely move him back into relief duty — it was still an audition of sorts as the club tries to find out what their first-round pick (third overall) in the 2014 draft can do.

Rodon started off shaky, issuing a leadoff walk to Billy Hamilton. Hamilton, as he is wont to do, stole second. He then took third on a passed ball. Rodon walked Marlon Byrd to put runners on first and third with no outs for Joey Votto. Rodon bounced back, striking out Votto, then getting Todd Frazier to pop-up into a double play.

The 22-year-old lefty got into more trouble in the third, allowing back-to-back one-out singles and a walk before Joey Votto knocked in two runs with another single. But those would be the only two runs Rodon would allow in the outing. He finished with the win, having yielded the two runs on four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in six innings. It wasn’t the best outing, but it wasn’t the worst either, and Rodon was able to miss some bats and work his way out of a very tough situation. Not bad feather to put in one’s cap after debuting in the majors.