Joey Votto has reached base in nine consecutive trips to the plate

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto last made an out in the eighth inning on Thursday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Since then, he has gone 4-for-4 with five walks in nine trips to the plate against Dodger pitchers.

Last night, in a 3-2 victory, Votto drew a walk off of Chris Capuano, singled off of Stephen Fife, drove a two-run home run to the opposite field against J.P. Howell, and drew a walk against Paco Rodriguez.

Today, in a 4-3 extra-innings victory, Votto singled, doubled, and drew a walk off of Zack Greinke, then was intentionally walked once each by Rodriguez and Howell.

Ted Williams holds the official modern era record having reached base in 16 consecutive plate appearances from September 17-23, 1957. He walked nine times (once intentionally), was hit by a pitch, singled twice, and hit four home runs. While we shouldn’t hold our breath expecting Votto to reach base in seven more consecutive plate appearances, that he is more than halfway there is impressive in and of itself. Mike Trout reached base in 10 consecutive at-bats earlier this season against the Rangers, reaching base six times on July 29 and four times on July 30.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.