Joey Votto single-handedly saved the Reds’ bacon vs. the Pirates

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his two-run home run in the third inning. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates his two-run home run in the third inning. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Joseph Daniel Votto was in rare form last night. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman and future Hall of Famer belted two home runs last night and willed his team to a comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. By the fifth inning, with his game-tying solo shot, Joey Votto had recorded three home runs in as many at-bats.

What Votto is doing this season cannot be overlooked. At age 38, the six-time All-Star is carrying this team on his back. While Votto is a team-first guy, there’s no denying that he is the reason Cincinnati is even in position to make a run at the postseason.

The Reds were being blanked by the Pirates in the early-going of last night’s game. Vladimir Gutierrez was getting lit up for the fourth time in five games, and the Cincinnati bats seemed lifeless. Manager David Bell, surprisingly, left his starter in the game to hit in the bottom of the third inning with his team trailing 5-0.

Joey Votto single-handedly led the Reds to last night’s win.

Now, while I’m here to heap praise on Joey Votto, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jonathan India’s two-out walk in the bottom the third inning. India fouled off a 3-2 sinker and took a changeup high and outside for ball four.

Kyle Farmer followed with the Reds’ first hit of the night; a single to left-center field. Nick Castellanos’ followed that up with a towering shot to straight-away center fell just inches short of a three-run homer. Castellanos had to settle for a two-out, two-run double. Then, Joey Votto happened!

BANG! Votto mashed an 0-1 curveball from Pittsburgh starter Dillon Peters over the fence in right field and Cincinnati pulled within one run. But Votto wasn’t done. In the bottom of the fifth inning, with two outs, the former MVP launched a 2-2 slider into the seats once again.

The home run was Joey Votto’s 33rd of the 2021 season, his second of the game, and his third in as many at-bats. Votto hit a pinch-hit homer on Sunday versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, walked in his first plate appearance on Monday night, and hit two home runs in his first two ABs on Monday night.

Reds first baseman, Joey Votto, has reentered the MVP debate.

It’s been a two-horse race for the better part of a month between Fernando Tatis Jr. and Bryce Harper, but Joey Votto is making his case for a second MVP Award. What Votto is doing at 38 years old is virtually unheard of.

Votto’s two-home run night has him now tied with Harper (33) for the fourth-most in the league. Votto is tied for sixth with Tatis Jr. (92) for the most RBIs in the National League. Harper is well ahead of both Votto and Tatis Jr. in batting average, but Votto’s .380 on-base percentage is not that far behind Harper and is 12 points better than Tatis Jr. Votto is also fifth in the NL in OPS (.948).

Do I think Joey Votto will take home is second MVP? Unless he goes on a tear over the final two weeks of the season, which is quite possible, I think he’ll fall short. As is stands right now, Bryce Harper would get my vote.

However, with the upcoming schedule, Joey Votto is not going to be facing off against a trio the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Walker Buehler that he saw last weekend. Tonight Votto will have a chance to tee off against Mitch Keller. Who? Exactly!

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Joey Votto has been willing this Reds club to victory since Nick Castellanos hit the IL after the All-Star Game. With Cincinnati now missing Jesse Winker, it looks like Votto is regaining that MVP form once again. Let’s hope the rest of the Cincinnati Reds feed off Joey’s energy and make a push for the postseason over the final 11 games.