Votto looks to continue his offensive surge as the Reds open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Cincinnati (16-15) hit .191 while losing all three games against Pittsburgh (14-17) from April 16-18, as its losing streak reached a season-high five games.
The Reds, though, have reason to believe this series will be different thanks to Votto’s hot hitting. The first baseman hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning to lift Cincinnati to its second consecutive win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, 5-3.
Votto has been a big reason Cincinnati has hit .336 while winning three of four. He has an eight-game hitting streak, during which he’s batted .419 with three homers and eight RBIs. He’s driven in five runs in the last two contests.
Votto might be in ideal position to continue his hot hitting, as he’s batting .453 with 10 RBIs in 17 career games at PNC Park. He’s also 4 for 5 with one homer, one triple and one double against Ross Ohlendorf(notes) (0-0, 3.60 ERA), Pittsburgh’s scheduled starter.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.95 ERA over his last two starts. That’s a vast improvement from his first four games of the season, as he started 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA.
Arroyo’s struggles included a 5-3 loss in Pittsburgh in the series finale last month. He allowed five runs in six innings after beating Pittsburgh in his previous three outings behind a 0.86 ERA.
The Pirates are looking to rebound from Sunday’s 11-4 loss to St. Louis. They’ve suffered 12 losses of six runs or more, but are 10-2 in games decided by two runs or fewer, with all three victories against Cincinnati last month falling into that category.
Pittsburgh is expected to activate Ohlendorf from the disabled list in order to give him his first start in over a month. The right-hander has been sidelined with back spasms since allowing three runs in five innings of a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 7.
Pittsburgh prepared for Ohlendorf’s return Sunday, moving right-hander Jeff Karstens(notes) to the bullpen while Brian Burres(notes) remains the fifth starter. Karstens, though, combined with four relievers on a four-hitter in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Cardinals.
“We’ll make the switch now and see where we go,” manager John Russell told the team’s official website.
Ohlendorf was impressive in his last rehabilitation start with Double-A Altoona on Wednesday, allowing three hits while striking out six in four shutout innings.
He’s 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in three games - two starts - against the Reds. He got the win in his last start against them May 2, 2009, allowing three runs in six innings of an 8-6 home victory.