Cincinnati Reds: Injured sluggers are needed back vs Dakota Hudson

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds falls backward to avoid being hit by a pitch. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Mike Moustakas #9 of the Cincinnati Reds falls backward to avoid being hit by a pitch. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Reds go up against Dakota Hudson tonight.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Reds would want two of their best hitters in the lineup tonight, right? While that may be true, the track records of both Jesse Winker and Mike Moustakas versus St. Louis Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson only intensify the need for Cincinnati’s sluggers to return.

The Reds will send Tejay Antone to the mound tonight, as Cincinnati is looking to gain more ground in the National League Wild Card chase. The Redlegs currently trail the Birds on the Bat by 2.5 games. With just 15 games remaining, it’s go-time for David Bell’s squad.

Antone’s 2.49 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his inaugural season with the club should give Reds Country confidence entering tonight’s contest. Cincinnati’s bullpen went untouched last night after Luis Castillo’s masterful performance and will be well-rested in the event they’re needed.

The problem lies, as it has for so many weeks now, with the Cincinnati hitters. Last night, Joey Votto went yard in his first at-bat and Eugenio Suárez tacked on a run a couple innings later. The three runs were all the Reds needed, but it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals bats remaining silent for long. That’s where Winker and Moustakas come in.

Both left-handed sluggers missed last night’s victory with injuries. Moustakas was hit by a pitch on Thursday night and was not available versus Adam Wainwright on Friday. Winker was pulled from the game on Thursday night as well following tightness in his back. Both Moose and Da Wink have had measured success against tonight’s starter, Dakota Hudson.

In 11 career at-bats, Mike Mousataks has taken Hudson deep twice. The  hard-hitting Moustakas has two home runs and four RBIs off the Cardinals right-hander. Winker, who already has a hit off Hudson this season, has a career batting average of .385 in 13 career at-bats versus Hudson.

Last night, we saw David Bell go with Freddy Galvis at second base. Galvis had a solid game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Aristides Aquino picked up the bat and was the team’s designated hitter, though he’s 0-for-6 against Hudson and probably shouldn’t be in the lineup tonight.

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While virtually every game down the stretch can be considered must-win for the Cincinnati Reds, this one carries a lot of emphasis as the St. Louis Cardinals are who’s standing between them and a spot in the postseason. Let’s hope both Jesse Winker and Mike Moustakas are back in the batter’s box tonight in the Gateway City.