Each week, BA will take a look at the trends in major league baseball.
Joey Votto | 1B | Reds
Whatever else ails the Reds, Votto continues to perform at an elite level. The 33-year-old recently put his name in the record books when he reached base at least twice in 20 consecutive games, the eighth-longest such streak in baseball history. Overall he hit .435 with a .611 on-base percentage during the stretch. But his excellence this season goes beyond the historic streak. Votto enters Tuesday batting .315/.447/.595, is on pace for a career high in home runs, and is also on pace to strike out the fewest times in his career over a full season.
Alex Bregman | 3B | Astros
Few position players have been as hot as Bregman the last six weeks, part of the reason the Astros have remained dominant even despite the loss of Carlos Correra. Since July 4, Bregman is hitting .338/.420/.648 with 16 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 22 RBIs, and more walks (20) than strikeouts (16). Overall his 1.068 OPS ranks eighth in the majors in that time, just ahead of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
Gio Gonzalez | LHP | Nationals
While the Nationals have been cruising, Gonzalez has quietly put together one of the best comeback seasons of the year. Gonzalez's ERA rose every season from 2013-16, topping out with an ugly 4.57 ERA last year. The 31-year-old lefty has reversed that trend this season though, going 12-5, 2.39 entering Tuesday. Gonzalez is allowing a career-low 6.6 hits-per-nine, with his fastball (.198 opponent average), changeup (.206) and curveball (.150) all keeping hitters in check.
Mike Foltynewicz | RHP | Braves
Just when it looked like the 25-year-old righthander was having a breakthrough, he's come crashing back down to earth. Foltynewicz has a 7.09 ERA over his last nine starts dating back to June 30, with opponents hitting .321 off him in that time. Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters after his latest bad outing that Foltynewicz's struggles controlling his emotions are the root of the problem.
Jose Bautista | OF | Blue Jays
Things just aren't getting better for the face of the Blue Jays franchise. Bautista's latest slump is a 4-for-28 stretch, and overall he is hitting. 172 in 40 games since July 4. The 37-year-old Bautista is hitting .212/.322/.389 on the year, all of which are his lowest numbers since 2008.
Ian Kennedy | RHP | Royals
The Royals' wild-card hopes are not being helped by their pitching, with the staff posting a 6.05 ERA in August. Kennedy has been at the forefront of those struggles, posting an MLB-worst 8.53 ERA in four starts this month. Opposing batters have torched Kennedy for a .342/.411/.646 slash line, as his season ERA has ballooned from 4.43 to 5.06.