Joey Votto Gets #300 as Reds Escape Cubs

Joey Votto

It wasn’t pretty on Friday night for the Cincinnati Reds, but a win is a win. Coming into the weekend, Cincinnati was ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central by one game. After putting up eight runs, and almost blowing it entirely, the Redlegs held on. Powered by Joey Votto and his 300th career home run, the Reds once again are back in the win column.

Mr. 300

When he was called up in 2007, Joey Votto immediately became an important cog in the Reds’ lineup. He holds numerous records, has won an MVP and a Gold Glove award, and has been thoroughly fun to watch his whole career. Friday night marked another feather in Votto’s cap as he hit career home run number 300. He exploded on the first pitch of his second at-bat of the night, depositing the ball 429 feet away into the Moondeck at Great American Ballpark. Votto is third all-time for the Reds in homers, trailing only Johnny Bench and Frank Robinson, who have 389 and 324 home runs with the club, respectively. Joey Votto would finish the game 3-4 with three extra-base hits and three RBI.

Bullpen Continues to Sputter

It has been no secret this season that the Reds bullpen has been bad. The only one possibly worse than theirs is the Colorado Rockies, who have been nothing short of atrocious. After Wade Miley went five innings, Jose De Leon came on in relief and surrendered two earned runs in two innings. Carson Fulmer worked one inning, and he also gave up one earned run. This made the score 8-5 heading into the ninth. Lucas Sims was brought on for the save in the final inning, but after hurling 30 pitches and walking three batters, Manager David Bell opted for Tejay Antone out of the pen. Antone threw three pitches, all strikes, and induced a game-ending groundout, leaving the bases loaded.

This isn’t the first time, or the last time, for that matter, that the Reds got a shaky relief performance. Cincinnati leans heavily on the offense to score, but cannot seem to throw strikes once the bullpen door opens, which leads to major trouble. For a team that had such a solid bullpen last year, they cannot seem to put it together so far in 2021.

Offense Roars to Life at Home

Despite the relievers trying to hand the Cubbies the game, the offense did its job. Spurred by the home run ball on Friday, the Reds roughed up Jake Arrieta. Before Friday, Arrieta had held the Reds offense scoreless in his last 19 innings pitched against them. That all changed on the Joey Votto home run. That moonshot was soon followed by home runs from Eugenio Suarez, which snapped an 0-26 spell, and Nick Senzel, his first of the year. So far at home, the Reds are scoring a ton of runs. To put it in perspective, the Colorado Rockies are averaging 5.9 runs per game at Coors Field. The Reds, however, are averaging almost eight runs per game at GABP this season. That obviously won’t hold up all season, but it has been fun to watch them score bunches of runs at home.

Update on Jesse Winker

Jesse Winker, the Reds and baseball’s hottest hitter right now, left in the middle of the game due to an injury. He seemed to be pointing to his lower back area. There is no update on his condition.

The Reds toughed out a huge win on Friday night against the Cubs. Led by Joey Votto and the offense, the Reds will look to take the series against Chicago on Saturday. Luis Castillo is off to a rough start, but he is due for a dominant start. Catch the Reds and Cubs at 4:10 PM on Saturday afternoon as they’ll tee it up and go head-to-head once again.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players mentioned:
Joey Votto, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Wade Miley, Jose De Leon, Carson Fulmer, Lucas Sims, David Bell, Tejay Antone, Jake Arrieta, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo