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.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.