Fans wondered why Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto would swing at a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded, as he did Monday in the seventh inning with the Reds trailing the White Sox 3-1.
Votto’s career stats show why he has confidence in that situation. When the count is 3-0 and he swings away, he’s 20-for-35 (.571) with five home runs and 18 RBIs. In the last 30 years, according to BaseballReference.com, Votto’s average on 3-0 counts is tied for second among players who have faced a 3-0 count at least 300 times.
Mike Piazza (3-for-4, .750) walked 299 times in 303 3-0 situations. Adrian Beltre (12-for-21, .571) has walked 312 times in 335 chances.
Most of the time Votto walks when he gets to 3-0. He has walked 264 times in the 303 plate appearances in which he has seen a 3-0 count. When he gets a pitch he likes, though, Votto takes a chance. That’s what happened Monday, though he lined out hard to center field to end a scoring threat.
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Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said the previous batter, Tucker Barnhart, also had the green light on 3-0.
“Tucker was hitting 3-0, but the pitch was ball four, so he took it,” Riggleman said. “It’s a matter of trust. I trust that Tucker’s going to swing at a strike and take a ball, and I trust Joey’s going to do the same. That’s what he did. He got a good rip on that pitch.”
Although Votto left the bases loaded, the Reds took the lead with four runs in the eighth and won 5-3.