Cincinnati Reds: Was Joey Votto intentionally hit by pitch?

Cincinnati Reds’ star Joey Votto was plunked in his right knee by a fastball on Saturday. Votto was livid because there was no doubt in his mind that he was hit intentionally.

Joey Votto was drilled with a fastball during the second game of the Cincinnati Reds‘ doubleheader against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night. On a 1-0 count to Votto, Ryan Madson threw inside on Votto and struck with a 96-MPH heater in the right knee. Votto was livid with Madson as he got to his feet and trotted down the first base line. Votto’s reaction led everyone to believe that Madson hit Votto on purpose. That’s because he did.

Nationals’ star Bryce Harper was tagged in the knee by Austin Brice in the sixth inning. However, Brice connected with an 82-MPH breaking ball, and there was obviously no malicious intent as Brice went over to check on Harper after the side was retired. Harper would later exit the game.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the beginning or the end of players being hit by pitches during the nightcap of the doubleheader. Votto was hit previously in the first inning by Nationals’ starter Jeremy Hellickson, and Reds’ reliever Jesus Reyes hit Nats’ catcher Spencer Kieboom.

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After being hit a second time during the game, it was obvious that Votto had enough. Votto took his spot at first base after being plunked in the eighth inning and continually barked at Madson. Nationals’ first baseman Matt Adams appeared to try and calm Votto down, but Joey was having none of it.

After Eugenio Suarez grounded into a force out to end the inning, Votto began waving and gesturing to the Nationals dugout as he walked across the diamond. The home plate umpire then warned both benches as Votto walked down the stairs into the Reds’ dugout.

After the game, Madson was asked about the play in question. Madson, via the Washington Post, said there was no intent to hit Votto:

“No. I didn’t mean to hit him. Definitely didn’t mean to hurt him. Nothing like that. Hopefully, he’s OK.”

Reds’ interim manager Jim Riggleman did not agree. When asked if he felt as though the pitch that hit Votto was intentional, Riggleman thought that it was. Here are his comments via Cincinnati.com:

“It appeared (intentional). The only person who knows is the person who threw the pitch. It is what it is.”

While Riggleman took the right approach and did not completely accuse Madson of hitting Votto intentionally, it was pretty obvious to Votto, his teammates and Reds fans that Madson’s pitch was intentional.

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Now you have to wonder if there will be any retaliation from the Cincinnati Reds when they close the series with Washington on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. Votto was unavailable for comment after the game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Riggleman sit his star first baseman after Joey played every inning of both games during yesterday’s doubleheader.