Joey Votto! Joey Votto! Wherefore art thou, Joey Votto! That is decidedly the rally cry from Cincinnati Reds fans as they watched their beloved Reds lose their third straght to an inferior team. This time it was a second in a row against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers.
Seriously, if you watched the game you would have thought that Mike Fiers for the Brewers was a Cy Young Award winning pitcher, instead of the now 6-4 up and coming pitcher he is. The Cincinnati Reds were hitless until the 7th when Zack Cozart doubled and then came in on a sacrifice fly off the bat of the now slumping Brandon Phillips to cut the score to 2-1. The Reds didn’t allow the deficit to remain at one for long as Johnny Cueto (14-6) allowed another run in the bottom of the 7th.
The only time the Cincinnati Reds really threatened to push across a tying run came in the 8th inning. The Reds had 2 on and 2 out with Ryan Ludwick pinch hitting. Ludwick, who has been so clutch as of late, struck out swinging to end the inning. The real problem with the strike out is that Ludwick swung at 2 balls that were clearly a ball.
There is no doubt, at all, that the Cincinnati Reds simply MUST have Joey Votto back in the line-up. The smoke and mirrors that have kept them going is going away quickly. The pitching is suspect with only 2 quality starts in the last 10 games and the hitting just isn’t there. Again, if the Reds don’t hit homeruns, they don’t win. Playing small ball still is a struggle for them.
There are two silver linings in this bad play. The bullpen is still the best in the league and the Pittsburgh Pirates lost so the Reds lead remains 3 and a half games ahead of the Pirates.