Thoughts: Votto homers, Parker struggles

Quick thoughts on Sunday's games (click here for thoughts on the Braves' hot start and the entire weekend wrap) ...

  • Joey Votto finally homered, his first in 51 games going back to June 24 and first since his knee surgery last July. Even without the power, Votto has been reaching base -- a .542 OBP thanks to his MLB-leading 20 walks (Albert Pujols is second with 11) -- so is still an extremely valuable offensive player. Still, I'm sure the Reds like to see a little more pop; remember, this was a guy who third in total bases in the NL in his 2010 MVP season (when he hit 37 home runs) and fourth in 2011, and he still walked a lot those years. He was lining doubles all over the place last year before the injury. With his eye and willingness of pitchers to pitch around him, it means the guys following him in the lineup have to start producing. We mean you Jay Bruce: .255, no home runs, two walks, 18 strikeouts.

  • It's been a great start for the A's at 9-4 but the one worrisome issue has been Jarrod Parker. The Tigers pounded him on Sunday to drop him to 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA after three starts. Parker hasn't just been unlucky; he's also been bad, with eight walks, 23 hits and just four strikeouts in 11.2 innings. Batters are 0-for-5 off his changeup, but he hasn't been able to get to enough changeup counts as batters are hitting .450 off his fastball. The velocity has been the same as last year, and Parker and manager Bob Melvin aren't concerned. "I made a couple of good pitches and they hit them, and I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them," Parker told MLB.com. "I threw strikes. They were just up in the zone."

  • Fourteen games were played on Sunday and we saw four shutouts and six other teams held to one run. The pitchers continue to dominate.