Joey Votto won his fourth-straight Red o' the Week Emblazoned Jug last week, setting a new record for consecutive wins. For that four week stretch, Votto was Ted Williams if Ted Williams were a DC superhero. He hit .467/.542/.800, and if you stretched that pace out over a full season he would end up slugging 117 extra-base hits.
Alas, all things must pass, and the fever that had Votto so burning hot finally broke last week. He did not earn a spot on this week's poll, marking only the second time in the 348 year history of the Red o' the Week award that Votto is not nominated. He only managed to scratch out a .200/.360/.400 batting line with three 0-fers in six games. As goes Joey Votto, so go the Reds.
The team was 2-4 last week, but there were many who performed valiantly in the face of such futility. Here are your noms for the Red o' the Week for the 12th week:
Ducky is making things interesting for the confusing situation on the left side. With Rolen's red-hot return (see below), the team now has four men vying for playing time at 3B and LF. Ducker put his best foot forward this week, slashing .273/.467/.455 with a pair of doubles, four walks, and zero strikeouts. The lineup's biggest weakness this season has been its ability to get on base (particularly via the walk), so it's very encouraging to see him being so selective. Dusty has the benefit of being able to play the hottest hand among Todd Frazier, Chris Heisey, and Ludwick out there, and right now that is most definitely Ludwick.
Rolen returned from the DL last Monday and he's been swinging a strong stick since. He OPS'd .850 with two extra-base hits and two walks to go with three singles, three runs scored, and three runs batted in. Todd Frazier struck the ball with conviction in Rolen's absence and it seems Dusty is determined to keep Frazier in the lineup as much as possible. Hopefully he can keep the old fella rested enough so he can keep this kinda thing up over the rest of the season.
The Reds' ace split the Twins with surgical focus in his one start this past week, throwing seven dominant innings with a season-high nine strikeouts while only allowing four baserunners. He has thrown at least seven innings in five straight starts now and in 11 of 15 starts on the season. Not only is he an innings-eater, but he is a dominant one.
It seems that Leake is very quietly putting together a nice little stretch here. This past week, he stifled the Twins for eight innings with five strikeouts while allowing only two runs. The most impressive thing though was that he did it with only 86 pitches. Much like Cueto, he's turned in some terrific innings-eating performances lately, tossing at least seven innings in five of his last seven starts. The team suffered from some quiet bats and a shaky bullpen this past week, but the starting pitching was above reproach (half the time, anyway).
The bullpen lost a few games last week despite the best efforts of Sean Marshall. He threw 4.1 innings, giving up only three hits (all singles) while recording five strikeouts. In fact, since he and Aroldis Chapman exchanged roles, Marshall has only given up one run in 14.1 innings. Something something grumble grumble positive regression harumph.