CINCINNATI -- When the Reds have needed to get their offense going, they've often turned to All-Star first baseman Joey Votto.
Votto ranks in the top 10 in the National League in nearly every statistical category, while leading the NL in doubles (36), walks (66), intentional walks (13), on-base percentage (.465) and extra-base hits (50).
But Votto's bat has cooled in recent weeks.
Calling it a slump may be a bit of a stretch, unless you're in Votto's world of multi-hit games and .300-plus batting averages.
Before going 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the Reds' 4-2 win over the Cardinals on Sunday night, Votto was hitting .224 with one home run and just three RBIs in his previous 17 games.
The knee injury Votto sustained in the team's final game in June raises some questions about his recent performance, but Reds' manager Dusty Baker said midseason exhaustion is getting to Votto more than anything.
"The knee has affected his running," Baker said. "I don't see the knee as much as I see some fatigue, which is usually around this time of year."
Votto went hitless in consecutive games Friday and Saturday for just the third time all season, and hasn't gone hitless in three straight games since September of last season
"They're throwing him a lot of junk," Baker said. "And sometimes you don't hit."
Baker also said the club will likely rest Votto in an upcoming game to help him regain his energy. Votto has played in 86 of the clubs 88 games, including Sunday's start.