MLB

Without Votto, Reds on one of their best streaks

Share This Story

   
 

CINCINNATI (AP)

When Joey Votto had knee surgery, the Cincinnati Reds faced a turning point. An offense that had been so-so was going to have to get along without its best hitter for about a month.

How have the Reds responded? With one of the best surges in franchise history.

The Reds had won 10 in a row heading into the start of their series against the San Diego Padres on Monday night at Great American Ball Park, a number that sets them apart. It's only the eighth time in club history that they've won 10 straight.

At 61-40, they're tied with Washington for best record in the majors. And it hasn't been a matter of one or two players getting hot.

''Every man on the roster has done an absolutely great job,'' outfielder Jay Bruce said. ''Everyone understands their role and has embraced it and is doing whatever they can, and it's really showing.''

The offense has come around without Votto, going 11-2 since an MRI found torn cartilage in his left knee that required surgery. He's expected to miss about a month overall.

While Votto worked on the leg, the Reds have closed in on the franchise record for wins - 12, shared by the 1939 and 1957 club. They've opened a three-game lead over Pittsburgh and a 7 1/2-game lead over defending World Series champion St. Louis in the NL Central.

The division has turned into a surprising two-team race for now.

''Three games is still a very small margin in the grand scheme of things,'' outfielder Drew Stubbs said. ''With the way we've been playing, we were hoping to have a little more cushion than that. But Pittsburgh is playing outstanding baseball. On the flip side, they're probably thinking, `What do we have to do? We're trying to make up ground and this team won't lose.'''

They hadn't lost since July 18, the day after Votto's surgery. They swept Milwaukee at Great American, knocking the defending division champs out of contention, then won three at Houston and three more at Colorado.

No one expected that without Votto in the lineup.

''You can dream it, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''I dream all the time. You hoped that we could just continue to play well.

''Not taking anything away from the teams we were playing, but it helped that the teams we were playing were struggling. It helps a lot. You can't time when these things happen.''

The way they've done it has been impressive.

The starting rotation has been solid and healthy all season. The Reds are the only team in the majors that has used only five starters to date. The bullpen has overcome the loss of closer Ryan Madson, with Aroldis Chapman becoming nearly unhittable in the ninth inning.

The offense was the most glaring weakness before Votto got hurt, forcing Baker to juggle his lineup to compensate for the loss of the No. 3 hitter. Brandon Phillips moved into the spot in the order and has batted .383 with two homers.

''Everybody has a different role,'' Phillips said. ''I love my role. It's a blessing in disguise. I've showed everybody I can play this game and hit third.''

He's not alone. Stubbs has batted .333 with three homers and 13 RBIs, earning co-NL Player of the Week honors on Monday with Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez. Ryan Ludwick has batted .342 with four homers and 10 RBIs. Scott Rolen has batted .306 with two homers.

The Reds have won 17 of 19 overall, their best streak since the days of the Big Red Machine.

''The big thing is getting a lot of lucky breaks,'' Stubbs said. ''You look at teams that win championships, they have a combination of good, solid baseball and getting some lucky breaks. I think in the last two weeks, we've had a combination of those.''

The streak will soon have its own style.

Reds radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman promised a few days ago to shave his head if the winning streak reached 10 games. He's planning to do it during the week.

''I can't wait to see it,'' Phillips said. ''I might kiss it.''

---

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

Tagged: Reds, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..