Joey Votto’s Historic Season: The Unsung Hero

(Jamie Sabau / Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Reds’ veteran first baseman, Joey Votto, will try for history in today’s game at Wrigley Field. The Boston Red Sox legendary left fielder, Ted Williams, set a record of having a 21-game streak of reaching base twice in each game and Votto is one game away from matching it.

Batting third in today’s lineup, Votto followed center fielder Billy Hamilton and fellow All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart to face the Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher, John Lackey. Lackey has a low average of walks and hit per innings pitched (WHIP) at 1.33. He stands at 41st in all of baseball and just 22nd in the National League in that category.

What that means for Votto is, if Lackey has an average game and Votto comes up against him about four or five times, is he’ll have a pretty low chance of getting one hit, let alone two, off of him. The Chicago crowd is hoping that even if Lackey has to leave the mound early in the game, their strong bullpen will be able to hold Vottomatic away from history.

In his top of the first inning at-bat, Votto singled to right field to set up a bases-loaded situation for Eugenio Suarez. Sidenote: in a recent game, directly after a Scooter Gennett grand slam, Suarez hit a back-to-back homer and while making the radio call, Reds’ radio broadcaster Jeff Brantley strangely said “And you can kiss the baby!” No one is quite sure what that means, but it will forever live in Cincinnati baseball folklore and in the memory of Suarez’s solo shot.

He hit a sacrifice fly to score Hamilton and that was it for Redlegs’ scoring in the first. Votto will be up, back at the plate, seventh in line at the start of the second inning. All he needs is to take a couple pitches or hit a chopper over Anthony Rizzo to have his name next to who Boston fans argue is the greatest baseball player of all-time, Williams.

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