The Reds need Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel back in the lineup

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 14: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Reds are missing two of their best bats.

I’m not going to speculate as to why both Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel have been out of the Cincinnati Reds lineup for the past few games; no one outside of the clubhouse really knows. What I do know, is that both Moustakas and Senzel are crucial to the Reds making a return to the playoffs, and their absence has really hurt Cincinnati’s offense in the past three games.

Moustakas was scratched from Sunday’s finale against the Detroit Tigers and replaced by Josh VanMeter in the starting lineup. Moustakas was later placed on the injured list, allowing the Reds to call up catching prospect Tyler Stephenson.

Before the game, Senzel was a late scratch and was replaced in center field by Travis Jankowski. Senzel, unlike Moustakas was not placed on the injured list. Over the past few games, we’ve seen Jankowski, Phillip Ervin and Shogo Akiyama occupy Senzel’s spot in the middle of the outfield.

Whether the Reds offensive drought is directly correlated to the absence of Moustakas and Senzel is anyone’s guess, but it’s certainly not helping the situation. Moustakas was the talk of Opening Day, going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Senzel is hitless in his first seven at-bats, but just like Eugenio Suárez, Senzel’s bat will come around.

It may seem like an obvious statement, but the Cincinnati Reds need Moose and Senzel back in the lineup, and fast. Since both players missed Sunday’s game, the Reds can’t seem to buy a run, or even a base hit. The Reds outhit the Tigers six to three on Sunday afternoon, but still fell to Detroit 3-2.

In the opener against the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds went hitless against Jon Lester through five innings. It took rookie catcher Tyler Stephenson to break Cincinnati out of its funk, but a ninth inning rally fell short.

Last night, the Reds looked lost versus right-handed starter Alec Mills. Suárez became so frustrated following his strikeout in the sixth inning that he broke his bat over his right leg as he reached the top of the dugout steps. The Cincinnati offense is stuck in neutral and it needs Moustakas and Senzel to help shift it into gear.

Mike Moustakas was brought in to be Cincinnati’s everyday second baseman and a bopper in the middle of the batting order. Last night, Moustakas’ No. 4 in the lineup was taken by Jesse Winker. The night before, David Bell turned to Christian Colón to be the team’s designated hitter. Neither one of those are desirable options.

Nick Senzel was coming off a mediocre rookie season. The 24-year-old revamped his workout regime during his time away this spring and looked ready to go following shoulder surgery during the offseason. Senzel was the Reds Opening Day starter in center field and was to be counted upon to bring his athleticism, speed and high baseball-IQ to this year’s squad.

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Whatever the reason may be that both players are out of the lineup is still a mystery. Regardless, it’s apparent that the Cincinnati Reds need both bats back in their everyday lineup. VanMeter, Jankowski, Aquino and Kyle Farmer are solid, rotational options, but if the Reds want to compete for the division crown, they need Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel back in the fold.