‘I need to play better’

Joey Votto wanted to become more dangerous at the plate this season, continuing an adjustment he made after a three-game benching last season where he stood taller and traded some power for some strike zone command.

The results haven’t been there to this point.

Votto is hitting .214 with three doubles, four homers and 11 RBI in 84 at-bats. He’s posted a .283 on-base percentage, which is on pace to be the lowest OBP of any month in his big-league career when he’s played more than a handful of games in the month.

“Not a lot of results of late,” Votto said, “but I’ve felt good all year.”

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Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) hits an infield base hit in the ninth inning of the MLB baseball game between Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

Votto, who came off the bench in Monday’s 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Following a three-hit game against Cleveland ace Shane Bieber, Votto is 2-for-24 with four walks and nine strikeouts.

The Reds need him to produce as a middle-of-the-order bat, but there are signs that he’s on the right track with his approach. He’s barreling pitches at a rate that he hasn’t done since 2017. He rated in the 26th percentile in exit velocity in 2020 and he’s up to the 86th percentile this season.

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