Joey Votto has a number in mind when he talks about goals for the season.
Votto is one home run and three RBI of reaching the 30 and 100 plateau. He leads the National League with a .988 OPS (on-base + slugging percentage).
The 33-year old was hitting .203 on May 23rd. Votto managed to build the average to .252 by the All-Star break.by hitting .297 in the last 42 games before the All-Star Break.
The most important number to Votto is 162. He will play his 158th against the Cubs on the last day of the season.
Votto played in 162 in 2015. He played in all 162 in 2013 after coming off an injury and 161 in 2011.
The Reds firstbaseman stood by his cubicle with a gash on his chin. He got it on a bad slide into secondbase in St. Louis on Thursday. Votto sent a text to manager Bryan Price at 3:00 am Friday morning, telling his manager that he wanted to play Friday.
"It is a point of pride for me," Votto said. 'I feel and obligation to the fans, the front office and my teammates and myself but most of all I feel the obligation to the fans. The more stories I hear, the more people write notes to me or on twitter, the notes to me, the feedback is I got to go to a game. I got to watch my favorite player play, not just me necessarily. Just being out there everyday, knowing that someone gets done at work and come to the ballpark to see me play. I feel I have to be there to justify my ticket. It means a lot to me to give that back to them."
Votto is hitting .411 since the All'Star game with an OPS of 1.168, 15 home runs and 55 RBI. He has drawn 108 walks coming into the last day of the season and his been on base in .494 percent of his plate appearances. That is nearly once every two times he steps in the batter's box.
"I wish I would have started out better," Votto said. "I didn't doubt that I could come back from the start but I was frustrated and in disbelief. I have faith in my ability. I felt good. The only way I could do that was play everyday. That's the important stat to me."
"If I only played 140 games, I never would have been able to do that," Votto said.
Votto is pleased with his offense but feels he is lacking in a couple errors, base running and defense.
"I went a couple months with inconsistent defense," Votto said. "Until Trout came into the league I felt that I was in the conversation for the best player in the league. He fucked that up for everybody, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams included. You can't be in that conversation unless you do every aspect of the game. I love competing against the best. It is something I take a lot of pride in. Offensively I felt I could compete with anybody in baseball. Defensively, I feel I have a ways to go. It is exciting to have another challenge to overcome. I'm grateful for that."