Joey Votto's Return Will Make the Cincinnati Reds NL World Series Favorites
But that has not slowed down the Big Red Machine one bit. Since Votto has been out of action, the Reds have gone 31-15, marching to the best record in all of baseball at 81-53.
To accomplish that feat without your best player is impressive, to say the least. Before hitting the disabled list for a torn meniscus in his left knee, Votto had a .342/.465/.604/1.069 batting line with 102 hits, 36 doubles, 14 home runs and 49 RBI.
In large part, the Reds owe their sustained success to the rejuvenation of Ryan Ludwick. When Votto went on the DL, Ludwick owned a .235/.307/.484/.791 batting line.
As of today, he has brought his batting line up significantly to .276/.345/.552/.897. Over the last 28 days, Ludwick has batted .326 with a .392 OBP, .581 SLG and .973 OPS with four doubles and six long balls, adding 15 RBI.
Upon Votto's return to the lineup on Monday, the Reds will have 27 games left to play against teams including the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
In his career, Votto has faced those opponents a combined 425 times.
His numbers have been absolutely impressive, owning a .318/.406/.548/.953 career batting line with 73 home runs and 271 RBI against those NL opponents.
The Reds are being afforded that type of production back into their already stacked lineup.
The team can move Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Frazier over to third base, riding the hot hand, to make room for Votto back at first.
All due respect to Scott Rolen, but his role on this team may be prematurely at its end. With the powerhouse lineup coupled with the Reds formidable pitching rotation, it is hard to see any team derailing this ball club.
The Reds, largely without Votto, have already played that list of opposition 70 times this season. They own a 41-29 record for a .585 winning percentage. If they only take away that percentage of games, the team will finish with a 96-66 record (.593 winning percentage), which will give it the most wins since 1999 when the team went 96-67 (with a .589 winning percentage).
It would also give Cincinnati its highest winning percentage since the 1973 team that went 102-60 with a .630 WP.
If you want to factor in Votto's 4.6 WAR (wins above replacement), there is an extremely good chance that the Reds could finish the season with 100 or more wins.
As is, the the Reds have gone 20-12 since August 1. Their 8.5 game lead in the division is the widest margin out of any divisional race in baseball. Oh, did you read that they're getting arguably the best player in baseball back on Monday?
Things are about to get scary in Cincinnati.
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