Jason Linden and I got together to discuss the Cincinnati Reds, who are showing signs of turning the corner and becoming the team we hoped they’d be. We also — reluctantly — discussed the continuing signs of Joey Votto’s age-related decline, before ending that conversation on a particularly optimistic note. Finally: #ViewerMail!
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Good chat, guys.
At this point, I’m not that interested in watching any teams-who-aren’t-the-Reds that I can pick up in the Raleigh/Durham market. Consequently, I haven’t watched nearly as much baseball this season as youze guys have, and even I’ve noticed that the strike zone is being called differently this year. I couldn’t STAND the Maddux Strikes that were called, even though they were four inches…six inches…off the plate. And that affects which pitches a hitter will take — or swing at — in subsequent at-bats. But…you can’t fight City Hall, right? This is where Turner Ward has to come in with some batting strategy…maybe if you think it’s going to come in juuuuuust a bit outside, you fight it off and make the pitcher throw it again. I dunno.
One more thing: Speaking of Joey…can ANYONE explain his practice swing at the plate? This little compact, half-swing, weird motion thing he does…it looks like he’s swinging…I dunno…a cricket bat or something!
There was an article about Votto practicing swings two maybe three years ago. He sets up the tee at the very top inside corner of the strike zone.
He wants to be able to hit the most unhittable pitch that would be called a strike. Plus, that compact swing has proven to increase the amount of time the bat head is in the strike zone, increasing likeliness of making contact.
Now, does it work for Votto? That’s a different debate. I think it makes him more picky in pitch selection that would give him an advantage with that approach, rather than going up the more looking for a perfect pitch to unload on.
I don’t like it for the simple fact that he’s in his head, expecting pitchers to pitch him inside like they used to, while they,re going away for those outside strikes. Those pitches were the ones Votto took oppo over the left field wall 8 years ago. He also stood more prone and less choked up.
He just needs to evolve yet again per Jason and Chads discussion, pitchers are not pitching him the way they did 3 years ago when he started his “cricket” swing.
In the article, Votto was literally fouling off balls or putting them in play with the tee set only a few inches from his belt/belly button.
He could the. Get closer to the plate and still hit the outside corner while choked up. It just gives him better coverage, more time in the zone etc.
But again, this might not be the best approach for the way he’s being pitched now.
Hope that helps clarify his awkward alligator swing.