The Cincinnati Reds have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2021 season.
Not many folks expected the team to compete for a playoff bid this year, but with less than a month remaining, the Reds are just one game back of a playoff spot in the National League.
Outstanding campaigns from several players have allowed Cincinnati to get this far.
Among those players, you’ve got superstar Joey Votto.
Votto is having yet another remarkable season, which is something he seems to do year after year.
He remains one of the most underrated players in baseball, and he’s arguably the face of this Reds organization.
Joey Votto is the best. ❤️
(🎥: @MLB) pic.twitter.com/ljTym9KNA4
— theScore (@theScore) September 8, 2021
Everyone in Cincinnati loves Votto, and rightly so.
Unfortunately, the past couple of weeks have been rocky for the veteran.
His production has dropped off a bit, and it’s not exactly happening at an optimal time.
Is he on the verge of ending his slump?
Votto Hasn’t Had A Multi-Hit Game In More Than 3 Weeks
Votto hasn’t had a big day in several weeks.
He hasn’t registered a multi-hit game since August 16, and since that date, he’s batting just .188.
To his credit, he has still been hitting for power throughout his slump.
The 38-year-old has been able to maintain a fine .406 slugging percentage over the span.
However, his recent numbers are a long ways off from the sort of output he was producing before the slump began.
Before the stretch started, he was batting .284 with a .952 OPS on the year.
Today, he’s batting .269 with a .916 OPS.
At this stage in the season, that’s a pretty substantial drop-off, and it’s probably safe to assume that the former MVP would like his cold stretch to come to an end as soon as possible.
Despite His Rough Few Weeks, Votto’s Last 2 Games Have Been Encouraging
It seems like Votto might be close to getting back on track.
His last two games have been encouraging.
On Tuesday, he doubled, drew a walk, and scored a run in what turned out to be a 4-3 win for the Reds.
Cincinnati probably wouldn’t have won that game without his contributions.
On Wednesday, he blasted a home run to left-center field on a 3-2 pitch.
Home run number 3⃣2⃣4⃣
Joey Votto is now tied with Frank Robinson for the 2nd most homers in franchise history! 🐐 pic.twitter.com/tPXFjiTzrf
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 9, 2021
The homer moved him into a tie with Frank Robinson for the second-most homers in Reds history.
It’s obviously a small sample size, but over his last two games, Votto has been seeing the ball much better.
Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come.
The Reds Are Going To Need Votto’s Contributions Down The Stretch
The Reds are currently chasing the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card race.
As we mentioned earlier, Cincinnati is just a game behind San Diego.
Here’s where things get interesting: The Reds have the third-easiest remaining schedule in all of baseball.
The Padres, meanwhile, are dealing with the toughest remaining schedule out of all 30 MLB teams.
San Diego figures to stumble at some point during its remaining stretch, and when that happens, the Reds are going to have to be ready to pounce.
In all likelihood, Cincinnati just needs to take care of business the rest of the way, and that task would become a lot easier with a productive Votto.
Needless to say, the six-time All-Star is hoping to turn things around immediately and help his club reach the playoffs.NEXT: 3 Under The Radar Heroes For The Cincinnati Reds