CHICAGO – The direction the Reds will go in the upcoming trade deadline remains up in the air – though the outcome of the series against the kids is likely to be a factor – but Joey Votto is doing his best for almost alone Cincinnati to buy a playoff push.
Votto undoubtedly had his finest game of the season in the Reds’ 7-4 victory Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, going 2-for-4 with solo home runs in his first two at-bats against Chicago starter Adbert Alzolay.
His first homer at night expanded Votto’s active on-base streak to 21 games and his active streak of games with a home run to four, tying his career-best stretch (suspended from 24-27 April 2018) and getting the 37-year-old on oldest National League player since 41-year-old Barry Bonds in 2005 for going deep in four straight. The second long ball gave him his 14th career multi-homer game, and even his first out of the night (a lineout for Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the fifth) still had an expected stroke average of .900.
As much as it may seem like a hot night on the record, it really is a continuation of Votto’s torrid July.
Votto came in at .301 / .435 / .589 in July, including a .460 on-base percentage to go with 17 RBIs since his row at the base began on July 2nd. The All-Star break did nothing to slow Votto down, either. In the 11 games since the break, he was homered six times, driven in 13 runs and owns an average of .350.
Any purchase of the Reds could lead to the deadline on Friday would have started with bullpen help regardless of Votto’s performance, but his continued rise in his 15th major league season has made it clear that Cincinnati does not have to go looking for anyone else mid-of-order bats.