Joey Votto stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tie game against the D-backs last week. Todd Frazier had just bunted Shin-Soo Choo from second to third and so Votto's Reds had the go-ahead run 90 feet from home with one out and their best hitter at the plate. This conceivably is the kind of situation the Reds envisioned when they gave Votto a 10-year $225 million contract extension last year. But Votto's pedestrian RBI total this year has left many a Cincinnatian frustrated with his output even as sabermetricians insist he's having a splendid season. "We can talk about sabermetrics and the importance of RBIs for the next week" radio announcer Thom Brennaman said at that moment "but this is a money at-bat." And it played out the way so many of Votto's plate appearances do. Votto diligently waited out rookie reliever Eury De La Rosa. The first pitch was a sinker that Votto who only swings at 28.7 percent of first pitches let pass for a strike. The next three pitches in succession were a sinker slider and curveball that Votto let pass to work the count to 3-1. Next came a 74-mph curveball that Votto hacked at and tipped back. The count was full. And then the money pitch. A fastball off the inside edge of the plate got by catcher Wil Nieves allowing Choo to score easily with what turned out to be the winning run as Votto trotted to first with his 100th walk. Mark that moment down friends. It was a special one in this Reds' season and not just because it won a ballgame for them. After all this was one of the very few moments in which nobody -- be it manager Dusty Baker or the guys in the radio booth or the fans in the stands or the writers in the press box -- could find fault with Votto's dutiful discipline.
Votto's value extends way beyond plating runs
MLB.com | Aug 26