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OnBaseMachine
04-17-2008, 09:06 PM
Votto steps up to save Reds, lifts teammates
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By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Thursday, April 17, 2008

CHICAGO ó There was no cask dangling around his neck, but Joey Votto was an award-winning St. Bernard rescue dog Thursday afternoon, April 17, in Wrigley Field for the Cincinnati Reds.

Just when his team needed rescuing the most, withering on a five-game losing streak, Votto hoisted his Louisville Slugger and lifted his teammates with it, driving in the first five runs of a 9-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

His three-run double in the fourth turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead and his two-run homer in the sixth made it 5-1.

Point of emphasis was added by Ken Griffey Jr.'s 596th career home run, a three-run rip in the seventh.

Manager Dusty Baker resorted to doggerel about snapping the losing streak: "When losses start mounting, people start counting."

The run-recipient was starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (2-0, 1.17), who wasn't at his economical best but made his stands when he needed to make his stands.

Matters were dire in the second inning when Volquez walked opposing pitcher Ted Lilly with the bases loaded and two outs. He got the next out.

He also encountered a fourth-inning dilemma ó two on nobody out ó but worked out of that mess run-free.

It took its toll, though, and he was finished after five innings, having thrown 112 pitches.

"He threw a lot of pitches in a short period of time, but had great stuff," said Baker. "You can work your way out of jams when you have stuff. We still have to get him to cut down on pitches.

"If he cut down today with the stuff he had he could have very easily gone into the seventh inning, thrown 15 to 20 less pitches. But he is learning and he'll learn how to do that."

Volquez, all smiles on this 'V' (Volquez, Votto) for victory day, acknowledged that he feared his time would be short on the mound this day.

"Before I pitched to the last hitters in the fifth inning, I saw I was at 99 pitches and thought, 'Man, I'm not gonna make it.' I just wanted to get out of the inning."

And the problem? "My release point," he said. "That happens with me when I get an extra day of rest, like this time. It seems like I'm pitching with a different rhythm and a different routine. I just try to make an adjustment, but I threw a lot of pitches for five innings.

"The best thing about it? We got a win," he said.

Votto was ecstatic that his offensive explosion made a direct hit on a victory.

"Absolutely, I'm glad I came through in that situation," he said of his bases-clearing double.

"It was left-hander vs. left-hander and a situation where I really wanted to come through. I would have been very disappointed had I not. I'm glad I did that for the team and that was a big situation."

The home run was nice, but Votto added, "The double was 100 percent more important."

Griffey, as usual, was reticent over chatting about creeping up on 600 and when asked if he was thinking about it, he said, "No."

Asked if he would do it at home when the Reds open a seven-game homestand tonight against Milwaukee, he said, "Why is that such a big deal? I hit 100 in Seattle, 200 in Boston, 300 in Cleveland, 400 in Colorado and 500 in St. Louis. So what are the odds that I hit 600 in Cincinnati?"

Baker, though, is pumped. "I'm more excited than he is because he doesn't show much excitement," said Baker. "This guy has done some tremendous things in his career and in his life and I'm pulling for him to get those 600 soon."

And there was that sweet victory to savor on the flight back to Cincinnati.

"It has been a tough five days and we needed this one badly," said Baker. "We didn't want back-to-back sweeps. Six in a row would have been bad and five in a row felt like a month."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/04/17/ddn041808spredsweb.html

edabbs44
04-17-2008, 11:29 PM
Really glad to see Votto start to hit the ball. Hopefully he forces Baker to play him most games.

Spring~Fields
04-17-2008, 11:55 PM
I was too. Votto and his good performance today renewed my energy for the team.

OnBaseMachine
04-18-2008, 12:12 AM
Joey Votto has shown these last few games why he should be the everyday starting first baseman. I think he'll hit 20-25 homeruns and 30 doubles this year while posting a .365+ OBP if given 500 atbats. And what about his defense? His defense has been great to this point. That diving play he made in the first inning today was the number three web gem on Baseball Tonight. He also made a nice leaping grab to save two runs in the fourth inning of todays game. I'd like to know who those people in the minor leagues were that said he couldn't play defense.

OnBaseMachine
04-18-2008, 12:20 AM
Great news!

Even though Scott Hatteberg has more experience against lefties, Baker stuck with Votto as he has for the past several days. Baker informed Hatteberg that Votto would be his main man at first base going forward.

"Today was a big day for him because of that left-handed pitcher," Baker said. "It was a great day. I told you it was coming. I just had to see a little more aggressiveness and bat speed, which we've seen coming the last couple of weeks."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080417&content_id=2540863&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Stormy
04-18-2008, 12:54 AM
Sit him against LHP!!! This is an instance where if Dusty follows his normal inane instincts, we lose yet another winnable game. Hopefully this opens his eyes, and he starts Votto 90% of the time going forward.

CTA513
04-18-2008, 12:55 AM
Great news!

Even though Scott Hatteberg has more experience against lefties, Baker stuck with Votto as he has for the past several days. Baker informed Hatteberg that Votto would be his main man at first base going forward.

"Today was a big day for him because of that left-handed pitcher," Baker said. "It was a great day. I told you it was coming. I just had to see a little more aggressiveness and bat speed, which we've seen coming the last couple of weeks."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080417&content_id=2540863&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin


:beerme:

HumnHilghtFreel
04-18-2008, 01:01 AM
Great news!

Even though Scott Hatteberg has more experience against lefties, Baker stuck with Votto as he has for the past several days. Baker informed Hatteberg that Votto would be his main man at first base going forward.

"Today was a big day for him because of that left-handed pitcher," Baker said. "It was a great day. I told you it was coming. I just had to see a little more aggressiveness and bat speed, which we've seen coming the last couple of weeks."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080417&content_id=2540863&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Happy to see Dusty breaking some of the old notions he had working against him by choosing youth.

reds44
04-18-2008, 01:11 AM
This Dusty guy really hates the young players. Votto and Hatteberg split time until Votto go hot and took the job, who could have seen that coming?

I give it until the end of June until Bruce is the everyday Center Fielder.

WVRedsFan
04-18-2008, 01:28 AM
If this shows me anything, it shows me that Dusty wants to win and if playing Votto more means more wins, that's what he is going to do. Good.

Although I'm not totally sold on Dusty (for obvious reasons), I find something in him I haven't seen in the Reds dugout for too long. He roots for his players. The players are not the manager's enemies. At times over the past few years, during the reigns of Boone, Miley, and Narron, I actually thought the players were the enemy. Pete Mackanin should be given credit for changing this somewhat, bu,t Dusty acually roots for his guys. I like that. Whether this translates into wins is a long way from being answered, but at least he is rooting for his players.

I have to believe that Dusty looks out at the team he's been given and wants to make it better. Despite his insistence on playing Patterson in center (of course, who else is going to play there?), I find little fault with what he's done. I found it telling that he didn't know that the Reds were going to acquire Josh Fogg until it was over (according to Fay). That just might be the beginning of a power stuggle. If one begins, we have to hope it for the betterment of the team, but at least we seem to have a manager who wants to win and knows how--for now. For all of our sakes, let's hope it happens.

TheBurn
04-18-2008, 01:37 AM
"Before I pitched to the last hitters in the fifth inning, I saw I was at 99 pitches and thought, 'Man, I'm not gonna make it.' I just wanted to get out of the inning."

And the problem? "My release point," he said. "That happens with me when I get an extra day of rest, like this time. It seems like I'm pitching with a different rhythm and a different routine. I just try to make an adjustment, but I threw a lot of pitches for five innings.

"The best thing about it? We got a win," he said.I like EV. This kid is fully grounded and seems to have his 'stuff' together.

BCubb2003
04-18-2008, 01:42 AM
I like EV. This kid is fully grounded and seems to have his 'stuff' together.

In every quote I've seen from him, he seems like a sharp guy who's really studying the game.

Falls City Beer
04-18-2008, 10:08 AM
Happy to see Dusty breaking some of the old notions he had working against him by choosing youth.

I call them "bunk" notions.

redsmetz
04-18-2008, 10:18 AM
If this shows me anything, it shows me that Dusty wants to win and if playing Votto more means more wins, that's what he is going to do. Good.

Although I'm not totally sold on Dusty (for obvious reasons), I find something in him I haven't seen in the Reds dugout for too long. He roots for his players. The players are not the manager's enemies. At times over the past few years, during the reigns of Boone, Miley, and Narron, I actually thought the players were the enemy. Pete Mackanin should be given credit for changing this somewhat, bu,t Dusty acually roots for his guys. I like that. Whether this translates into wins is a long way from being answered, but at least he is rooting for his players.

I have to believe that Dusty looks out at the team he's been given and wants to make it better. Despite his insistence on playing Patterson in center (of course, who else is going to play there?), I find little fault with what he's done. I found it telling that he didn't know that the Reds were going to acquire Josh Fogg until it was over (according to Fay). That just might be the beginning of a power stuggle. If one begins, we have to hope it for the betterment of the team, but at least we seem to have a manager who wants to win and knows how--for now. For all of our sakes, let's hope it happens.

I don't think you can underestimate the difference in philosphy that you mentioned. While folks may not agree on every move, he's intent on winning and, as you note, seems able to translate that fervor for his players' success into drawing more out of them.

Regarding the Fogg signing and an impending "power struggle" as you called it, it may well just be the difference in two individuals learning how to work with one another. It may well be that Dusty says to Wayne, let me have some input the next time and we can avoid something like this again. Or it could, in fact, be a potential power struggle. I'm inclined toward the former though - learning pains, if you will.

I agree with those that have said we're on a vastly different track with a Fogg than we have been in the past. We do have players ready to step in and we don't have to throw other dreck out there. Belisle can easily fit into Fogg's slot and the ML rules viz free agents signing will relegate Fogg to the pen or on the street without much of a financial hit.

Ltlabner
04-18-2008, 10:24 AM
I'll give Dusty some credit, whenever I hear him interviewed he's usually taking about some specific tactic or philosophy. I may not agree with a specific tactic, but it's refreshing to hear concrete ideas out of the manager instead of the neblous PTGTRW gibberish of Narrron and the like.

BCubb2003
04-18-2008, 10:32 AM
Regarding the Fogg signing and an impending "power struggle" as you called it, it may well just be the difference in two individuals learning how to work with one another. It may well be that Dusty says to Wayne, let me have some input the next time and we can avoid something like this again. Or it could, in fact, be a potential power struggle. I'm inclined toward the former though - learning pains, if you will.



Billy Beane is noted for leaving the manager out of decisions like this.

WVRedsFan
04-18-2008, 11:27 AM
Regarding the Fogg signing and an impending "power struggle" as you called it, it may well just be the difference in two individuals learning how to work with one another. It may well be that Dusty says to Wayne, let me have some input the next time and we can avoid something like this again. Or it could, in fact, be a potential power struggle. I'm inclined toward the former though - learning pains, if you will.
Understandable, really, but I cannot imagine Dusty not pointing this out to Wayne and trying to get them on the same page. Wayne was used to dealing with Jerry Narron. Dusty ain't Jerry Narron.

WVRedsFan
04-18-2008, 11:28 AM
Billy Beane is noted for leaving the manager out of decisions like this.

Oh. Well then. That must be the right way. :D

*BaseClogger*
04-18-2008, 11:29 AM
I give it until the end of June until Bruce is the everyday Center Fielder.

Then who is playing RF? ;)

BRM
04-18-2008, 11:42 AM
Then who is playing RF? ;)

Sammy Sosa. Who else?

TOBTTReds
04-18-2008, 11:44 AM
I don't see CP leaving the lineup without a MAJOR collapse at the plate. He is Dusty's guy.

RedlegJake
04-18-2008, 11:47 AM
Despite his insistence on playing Patterson in center (of course, who else is going to play there?), I find little fault with what he's done.

I think CPatt should be the CFer. Just not the leadoff hitter. A case of turning an asset into a liability if ever there was one.


This Dusty guy really hates the young players. Votto and Hatteberg split time until Votto go hot and took the job, who could have seen that coming?

I give it until the end of June until Bruce is the everyday Center Fielder.

Dusty has never hated young players -mythology. He does require a young player to take the job away. Votto has done just that. As for Bruce, it's possible he comes up in June, then you'll see a month or two of the same CP/Bruce splitting time thing we just went through with Hattte and Joey. And it'll drive the board nuts.

KronoRed
04-18-2008, 11:49 AM
I don't see CP leaving the lineup without a MAJOR collapse at the plate. He is Dusty's guy.

Agreed, if Bruce were a right hander he might get a rush, but as a lefty he's going to have to wait for injury.

OnBaseMachine
04-18-2008, 07:17 PM
From Trent:

* When Joey Votto came up with the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning, all he could think of was that he needed to help his team out. The Reds have been brutal so far this young season with runners in scoring position, but Votto knew he could help his team out with a hit and his team down a run.

"I didnít want to come up there with bases loaded situation and not put at least one run across the board to tie it up or put us ahead," Votto said. "That was my main priority."

He delivered a bases-clearing double off of Cubs starter Ted Lilly. He added a two-run homer in the seventh inning, also against Lilly.

Votto has hits in eight of his nine starts, batting .406 when he starts and .351 overall.

"I liked what Iíd heard about Votto and in spring training I saw it sometimes, but not as much as what Iíd heard heíd done in September," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He almost won that game by himself (Thursday) and thatís capabilities he has. I see more bat speed, more aggressiveness, more confidence. I see it coming all the time. Heís one of the young, future guys for our team here. Heís a future run producer. He works hard, he studies. Iíll still have Hatte in there sometimes, but his upside is more. Iíve always like him, but itís a matter of him doing it."

Starting the season as part of a platoon with Hatteberg was difficult for him, Votto said, but he understood the situation. But playing more makes him more comfortable.

"(Sitting on the bench) is something I'd never done before," Votto said. "I have played for a little while now. I didnít think (the slow start) was a matter of something that would last. I thought Iíd get it going as long as I got games in. I had to prepare for every pinch hit at-bat, I treid to do the best I could then."

Thursday was also a positive because it showed he could hit against left-handers. Early in the season, he'd sit in favor of the veteran Hatteberg against lefties. He's now hitting .444 against lefties (4-for-9), the best among the Reds.

"By no means am I going to tell you Iíve got a handle on them, itís something I work at," Votto said. "Iím glad I got through in that situation."

http://www.thelotd.com/ctrent/blog

Matt700wlw
04-18-2008, 07:22 PM
It was only a matter of time that Votto got things going....

gm
04-18-2008, 08:32 PM
I think CPatt should be the CFer. Just not the leadoff hitter.

Any support for swapping Patterson and Votto in the batting order?

Joey has wheels and is not a baseclogger...although he doesn't play CF, Dusty's "designated leadoff hitter position"

"He’s a future run producer" --Baker...guess that means Votto keeps batting 7th

reds44
04-18-2008, 09:46 PM
What has happend to Joey Votto's plate discipline?

His career minor league BA/OB split was .289/.385 and he walked 401 times in 2,553 ABs, good for 1 walk every 6.4 ABs.

*SAMPLE SIZE ALRERT*
In 123 major league at bats, he has only walked 5 times, or 1 walk every 24.6at bats. This season, he has 0 walks in 39 at bats.

Granted his career line major league line is .331/.357/.562 and his season line is .351/.351/.595, but his lack of walks is still concerning.

OnBaseMachine
04-18-2008, 09:50 PM
Last year Votto worked many three ball counts and averaged 3.81 P/PA, which is pretty darn good. This year, it's down to 3.30 P/PA but it's still very early and he's just now playing everyday...I seem to recall him drawing quite a few walks this spring.

TOBTTReds
04-18-2008, 10:45 PM
Dusty has told him to be much more aggressive. He hasn't swung and missed on many strikes lately, so he isn't walking. He'll get his walks though.

pedro
04-19-2008, 04:09 PM
Well, Votto is doing his best to shut up those, like myself, who have questioned his ability to hit LHP.

Nice job Joey. Keep it up.

CTA513
04-19-2008, 04:16 PM
Well, Votto is doing his best to shut up those, like myself, who have questioned his ability to hit LHP.

Nice job Joey. Keep it up.

Votto is now 3 for 3 against Shouse with a single, double and homerun.

He is really the only left handed hitter on the Reds that has been able to hit him (though small sample size).

Tony Cloninger
04-19-2008, 04:27 PM
When they do not start pitching to him....then you will see him with more walks and probably moved up in the order. Right now....they are still pitching to him and he is more agressive then Dunn, let's say, would be. Plus he goes the other way.. I see Votto like a Dunn but wish i could see more of Votto in Dunn, in regards to Joey being more agressive and will go the other way if he has to. And no i don't mean bunting

RedsBaron
04-19-2008, 04:39 PM
I don't see CP leaving the lineup without a MAJOR collapse at the plate. He is Dusty's guy.

A .212 batting average and a .263 OBP rates as a major collapse to me. No way Patterson should be batting leadoff.
Votto and Bruce are the future of the Reds offense, if the Reds are going to have an offense capable of making the team contend. I'd like to see both of them in the starting lineup as much as possible.

reds44
04-19-2008, 04:41 PM
A .212 batting avearge and a .263 OBP rates as a major collapse to me. No way Patterson should be batting leadoff.
Votto and Bruce are the future of the Reds offense, if the Reds are going to have an offense capable of making the team contend. I'd like to see both of them in the starting lineup as much as possible.
He is below .200 now, and is 1 for his last 25.

edabbs44
04-19-2008, 04:41 PM
Well, Votto is doing his best to shut up those, like myself, who have questioned his ability to hit LHP.

Nice job Joey. Keep it up.

Don't forget that he also has a 1.240 OPS on the road.

Small sample size, no doubt.

mth123
04-19-2008, 04:59 PM
He's a stud IMO. I like his defense too.

pedro
04-19-2008, 05:07 PM
Don't forget that he also has a 1.240 OPS on the road.

Small sample size, no doubt.

yeah but his home OPS is .286 ;)

membengal
04-19-2008, 06:06 PM
Nice to see Votto starting to hit like many of us think he can. Props to Dusty for not pressuring him when he started the season slowly.

nate
04-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Well, Votto is doing his best to shut up those, like myself, who have questioned his ability to hit LHP.

Nice job Joey. Keep it up.

I'm also finding his glovework to be palatable.

Stormy
04-19-2008, 07:48 PM
Well, Votto is doing his best to shut up those, like myself, who have questioned his ability to hit LHP.

Nice job Joey. Keep it up.

:thumbup:

OnBaseMachine
04-19-2008, 10:38 PM
Joey Votto has been very, very impressive. I'd love to see Dusty move him up in the order, to say, second or third in the order. If Dusty gives him 500 atbats this season I expect we'll get 30+ doubles and 22-25 homeruns from Joey with a .365+ OBP.

OnBaseMachine
04-20-2008, 02:28 AM
Buster Olney wrote an article on Votto yesterday. He also wrote one on Jared Burton as an emerging setup man but it's premium material. BTW, Votto is a smart dude.

New routine for Votto
posted: Saturday, April 19, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry

A baseball season began on March 31, and for the first time in his life, Joey Votto was not a part of it, immediately. He did not hit well in spring training, at a time when manager Dusty Baker was evaluating whether to install Votto as the full-time first baseman or split time between Votto and veteran Scott Hatteberg, and on Opening Day, it was Hatteberg who started.

Votto didn't start on April 3, either, or on April 5. Veteran players have learned how to cope with intermittent playing time, learned how to prepare. For Votto, who was accustomed to playing every day, this is new, and during the first few days of the season, he found himself drifting, uncertain of how to cope with a situation that was new to him. So he has developed a system: He pretends that he was starting every single game.

"I made a major point to get in and get all my video work done early," he said Friday. "I was really tempted to be lazy, but I kicked myself in the butt and [thought], stick to the same plan -- at least go into the game with the mindset that I was playing every day."

For example, on April 7, when the Reds were set to play the Phillies and left-hander Cole Hamels, Votto reviewed videotape to get a sense of Hamels, of what he throws and how he uses his repertoire, and through his batting practice, he swung the bat with Hamels in mind. And that day, Votto started the game on the bench.

"I've always been told that I've got to keep a routine," said Votto. "I found I played my best when I had the same routine every day."

On those days when Votto hasn't started, the odds are, of course, that he is unlikely to get an at-bat against the opposing starting pitcher. He has switched to the bench-player thought process, which is built around preparation for at-bats against relievers. Votto likes to find a place in the dugout away from players who talk a lot, to give himself the best chance to focus on the game, to mentally prepare, to consider what situations might eventually develop for him -- a double-switch, a pinch-hit appearance against a particular right-handed reliever, that kind of thing. He will sometimes retreat to the clubhouse to watch the game on television, to observe the opposing starting pitcher from the center field camera angle, to get himself as prepared as possible for the moment that he's suddenly standing at the plate. "I've always been told -- especially by Dusty -- that you have to be ready to be aggressive from Pitch One that you see," says Votto.

And in recent days, Votto's work seems to be paying off. He started the last four games at first base, collecting 5 hits in 13 at-bats, with a couple of homers and seven RBI. Baker has complimented Votto's work ethic in his conversations with reporters, but hasn't said anything to Votto. "He really cares about the team [at large], and his No. 1 concern is with getting us a lot of swings," said Votto.

The Reds are having some tough games lately -- that's six losses in seven games; Bronson Arroyo lost Friday, as Shannon Russell writes. There is word within this piece that Josh Fogg may be supplanted in the Cincinnati rotation by Matt Belisle.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3354297&name=olney_buster

WVRedsFan
04-20-2008, 02:39 AM
Teh main thought I got from that article was that dusty preaches plate impatience. Not exactly what I want to hear, but if it works, it's OK by me