Joey Votto routinely feasts on Miami Marlins’ pitching, and this season seems to be no different.
The All-Star first baseman looks for another big performance at the plate as he tries to help the Cincinnati Reds to a fifth straight win overall and on the road Wednesday night against the Marlins.
Votto is a .355 hitter in 38 career meetings with the Marlins, including .440 with five homers and 11 RBIs in the past 13. He’s 12 for 23 while driving in five runs in his last six visits to Miami.
The venue hasn’t made much of a difference of late, as the 2010 NL MVP is 10 for 15 with two homers and four RBIs over the past three matchups. Votto had three hits and drew a bases-loaded walk in a 6-2 win Tuesday in the opener of this three-game series.
He’s a big reason the Reds (23-16) have won four in a row on the road, going 10 for 16 while scoring five runs. His .393 average away from home is among the NL’s best, and he’s 3 for 4 with a homer against Marlins scheduled starter Alex Sanabia.
Brandon Phillips has keyed Cincinnati’s overall four-game win streak, driving in four runs and scoring four while reaching base seven times.
Though Phillips is hitting .322 with 17 RBIs on the road, Cincinnati has hit .228 while going 7-10.
Mike Leake (2-2, 4.32 ERA) will be hoping for more help from the Reds lineup after getting only eight runs of support in his last four starts while going 1-2.
The right-hander is averaging less than six innings per start, a trend he’ll try to change after watching Homer Bailey throw a six-hitter in Tuesday’s victory.
“It’s definitely a goal to pitch deep into a game,” Leake told the team’s official website. “Sometimes you’re not fortunate, but I try to keep focused and give them at least six innings every time out.”
Leake did go seven-plus innings last Wednesday, when he gave up four runs and eight hits – two homers – in a 7-2 home loss to Atlanta.
The right-hander defeated the Marlins (11-28) in his only lifetime start against them, yielding three runs in six innings of a 5-4 win in Cincinnati on Aug. 14, 2010.
Leake is facing a Miami team which is batting .194 with 12 runs scored during a 1-6 stretch.
“It seems like all these different (lineup) combinations we use seem to produce the same thing,” manager Mike Redmond said.
Justin Ruggiano and Greg Dobbs are among the major culprits for the offensive woes. Over the last seven games, Ruggiano is 4 for 24 with nine strikeouts and Dobbs is 1 for 23 after they combined to go 0 for 8 on Tuesday. While Ruggiano has never faced Leake, Dobbs is 1 for 7 with a homer against him.
Sanabia (2-5, 4.85) had his scheduled turn in the rotation pushed back due to tightness in his groin.
The injury forced the right-hander to exit his most recent outing with one out in the fifth after giving up four runs and nine hits in a 5-1 loss at San Diego on May 7.
Sanabia has lost four straight starts, surrendering 16 runs and 27 hits in 22 innings. That skid started with a 10-6 loss at Cincinnati on April 21, when he issued a career-high five walks and hit two batters while surrendering five runs in six innings.