Votto was responsible for the Reds' only run in Tuesday's loss to the Cubs, hitting a solo homer against Kyle Hendricks. The homer was Votto's fourth of the season, and he's still hitting a mere .207/.323/.357 during the campaign. He entered the game with an average exit velocity of 87.8 mph, which is right around his average in the Statcast Era. But he's striking out at a far greater pace than he has in previous seasons.
Votto went 0-for-2 but drew two walks and scored a run in Friday's win over the Giants. He's hitting .206/.333/.333 in 150 plate appearances so far this season, despite hitting the ball with the same exit velocity as he has in the last two seasons, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. Votto's hard-hit rate is actually up to 36.1 percent, but he's also striking out 23.4 percent of the time, well above his previous rates. He had two hard-hit balls in the no-hitter by Mike Fiers earlier in the week, including a possible home run stolen by Ramon Laureano. "I really like how I've swung the bat in May, despite getting very few results," he said. "Sometimes that's how the luck goes. I felt I swung the bat very poorly at the very beginning of the year. I started transitioning to what I feel is an everyday, repeatable approach."
Votto is out of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Athletics. Votto will get a rest for the matinee game after playing all 13 innings of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Athletics. During that contest, Votto went 0-for-5 with a walk, dropping his season line to .210/.324/.339. While Votto is still drawing free passes at an elite clip (13.3 percent), his power has tailed off even further after he managed a lowly .419 slugging percentage in 2018. Votto's decline in that area has been especially troubling with the league-wide home-run rate up by a considerable margin this season.
Votto went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in Friday's loss to the Giants. It was Votto's second career 0-for-7 game. He's a notoriously slow starter, but there are reasons to be concerned; most notably, his strikeout rate is up 10 percentage points from a year ago. The 35-year-old has been mostly batting leadoff since mid-April.
Votto is out of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Mets. This just looks to be routine rest for Votto with the Reds and Mets concluding their series with a day game after a night game. Derek Dietrich will swap in for Votto at first base and bat third.