I get that teams are pitching around Joey Votto. The guys batting behind him haven’t been much of a threat. But if you’re wondering why the Reds offense has been so bad, start with Votto’s lack of power. Out of 186 qualified batters in the major leagues, Votto’s isolated power (ISO) is .014, which is last. DFL in the MLB. Votto’s net offensive contribution has been negative.

That doesn’t mean Votto won’t eventually come around. He will. My observation here is descriptive, not predictive. But there’s no point in sugarcoating what the Reds haven’t been getting from their MVP first baseman. Votto’s power outage is nowhere near the only reason the Reds are struggling. That list of factors is long. But Votto’s microscopic ISO is at the top. 

Cincinnati Reds 3 • St. Louis Cardinals 4 

Box Score || Win % || Reds Pitcher Stats || Reds Hitting Stats

Another solid start for Homer Bailey. It’s tough to go back-to-back against the same club and Bailey’s last start was against the Cardinals on Sunday in Cincinnati. Today was the Texan’s fifth start of the season. He’s pitched 29.1 innings and the Reds have scored two runs over that time.

Today, 62 of Bailey’s 96 pitches were fastballs, thrown at an average of 93.1 mph. That’s Bailey’s highest velocity of the season. Bailey struck out four and walked two. Bailey said after the game that he didn’t feel as sharp as he has been earlier in the season. Said he didn’t have much of a slider so threw a few more curveballs. 

Jared Hughes gave up a home run to Yadier Molina, the second batter he faced, to put the Cardinals on top for good 4-3. Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta recorded four outs in four batters faced. 

The Reds didn’t do much against the Cardinals’ 26-year-old ace Carlos Martinez, who entered the game with a 1.75 ERA and left after 6 shutout innings with 1.42. He gave up three walks and three hits. 

The Reds rallied for three two-out runs in the top of the 7th against the Cardinals bullpen. Phillip Ervin grounded a single into left field. Jesse Winker lined a single to right, moving Ervin to third. Jose Peraza singled to right, scoring Ervin. Joey Votto walked (more on that later). Scooter Gennett delivered, singling to right, knocking in two runs. For about ten minutes, the game was tied. 

A 9th inning rally fell short. After an Ervin pop-out, Winker walked. Jose Peraza was hit by a pitch and Joey Votto walked on a full count to load the bases. The Reds were a fly ball away from tying the game, but Gennett hit into a game-ending double play. 

Jesse Winker had two hits and two walks. He’s going to be an exceptional leadoff hitter and because of his contribution to the offense he has to play every game, not 3 out of 4. Joey Votto had four walks. Gennett did have two singles. The Reds #3 and #4 hitters have no home runs. Yet the Reds haven’t changed that part of the order. 

Welcome to the Riggleman Era. Jesse Winker led off the first inning with a single. Manager Jim Riggleman had Jose Peraza sacrifice Winker to second. That gave the Cardinals all the permission they needed to pitch around Joey Votto, who walked harmlessly. The Reds didn’t score.

First of all, the successful bunt reduced the Reds run expectancy from .83 to .68. You don’t need to know a secret handshake to have access to those numbers. When you factor in how it takes the bat out of Joey Votto’s hands, it’s an especially dumb strategy. A successful bunt hurts the Reds, unless you think little of Jose Peraza. you consider him like a pitcher at the plate. If you consider Peraza like a pitcher at the plate, why is he batting second for you? Please don’t tell me it’s because Peraza is a good bunter, straight out of the Big Book of Discredited Baseball Strategies. 

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