Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day

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Apr 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A moment of silence is observed for Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider before the start of a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres on Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park. Snider passed away Monday morning. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A moment of silence is observed for Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider before the start of a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres on Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park. Snider passed away Monday morning. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 25, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) comes up to bat in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) comes up to bat in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /

The Hitter: Joey Votto

No surprise here. I used Joey Votto as last year’s opening series opposition roadblock. However, last year, I had more of an internal argument than this year. With one look at the Cincinnati roster, there is just not much there offensively. He has been a controversial topic as well because of his actions toward opposing fans around the league, including Philadelphia. Besides that, Votto has been one of the most consistent hitters in the majors for nearly a decade.

Jun 2, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) hits an hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 2, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) hits an hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Last season, Votto cruised his way to another ho-hum offensive season. He slashed an impressive .326/.434/.550 with 29 homers and 97 RBI in the middle of a very average lineup. He also scored over 100 runs (101) for the fourth time in his career.

Votto boasts power to all fields and can hit against any pitcher. As a matter of fact, when teams tried to shift him in 2016, he hit an absurd .388 (93 hits). The lefty is known for his patience and willingness to take walks in any situation. Last season, he drew 108 walks in comparison to his 120 strikeouts.

In the six games the Phils faced the 33-year-old during the 2016 campaign, he was 2-22 with ten strikeouts. As a matter of fact, Jeremy Hellickson was able to send him back to the dugout on strikes three times last Opening Day. But tomorrow is undoubtedly not last season. And Votto has shown no signs of decline heading into the new league year.

If the Phils have any chance in this series, the pitching must not allow Votto to be the one to hurt them. He is one of their only consistent weapons.

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