The Reds have heavy-hitting slugger Joey Votto back in the lineup for good, but not everything is sunshine and rainbows in Cincinnati.
The good news comes first: Joey Votto is back. The Cincinnati Reds activated the first baseman from the 60-day injured list and will get their most reliable hitter just in time for a strong playoff push.
In Monday’s 5-4 win over the Rockies, which was Votto’s first game with the team in about 10 months, Votto got himself on the scoresheet quickly, homering in the fifth inning and scoring a two-run single in the sixth.
The six-time All-Star and future Reds legend helped Cincinnati win its ninth game in a row, the club’s longest streak since 2012. Proudly standing in first place in the NL Central, the Reds may feel untouchable with Joey Votto’s triumphant return and the club’s recent string of victories.
As for the bad news… Starter Hunter Greene was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to June 18. Greene, who has been dealing with hip pain for the last few weeks, will enter his first IL stint of the 2023 season and hopefully the last.
Reds rejoice over Joey Votto return, rue Hunter Greene’s absence
The Reds’ pitching could go through a cold stretch without their rising ace in Greene.
In his second year with the Reds, Greene owns a 3.93 ERA overall but a 2.31 ERA in his last four starts; he’s allowed 68 hits and 34 runs and recorded 100 strikeouts in 14 games total.
More than any other starter, Greene has absorbed the stress and pressures of the rotation early on in games, pitching six or more innings in four of his last five starts.
Greene’s stint on the injury list could encourage Cincinnati to pursue help from the outside so the club can keep its narrow lead ahead of the Brewers. The Reds currently own the third-worst rotation ERA (5.78) in the MLB, and in Greene’s absence, they don’t really have a strong candidate to replace him. Rookie Andrew Abbott has glittering potential but may still be too green; Luke Weaver, Ben Lively, and Brandon Williamson don’t stoke very much confidence and lack the stats to show for it.
The Reds’ unexpected mid-season run to the top of the division could see them play meaningful games after October. Getting Votto back provides an expected boost to the club’s already impressive young hitting core — it’s the pitching rotation that could use a tweak or two. Here’s to Greene’s swift recovery.