Cincinnati Reds: Staying heathy is key to a deep postseason run in 2021

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into third safe beating the tag . (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into third safe beating the tag . (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Reds were bitten by the injury bug early and often in 2020.

The Cincinnati Reds incurred a lot of injuries during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Cincinnati’s front office put together a roster that can contend among the best in the league. There are things that need to change in order for the Reds to reach the World Series next season, but near the top of the list is a healthy roster in 2021.

We saw starting pitchers Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani miss ample time. After Miley’s horrendous first start of the season where he lasted 1.2 innings, the left-hander didn’t pitch again for 16 days due to a groin injury that landed him on the 10-day injured list. In that game, he again only lasted 1.2 innings.

Miley’s first trip to the IL was not the only time the southpaw would be available in 2020. After his fourth start of the season, Wade Miley landed himself back on the injured list for almost a month due to a shoulder injury.

Another player who was hit by the injury bug in 2020 was Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani began the season on the injured list and was replaced by Tyler Mahle. Eventually Disco returned to the mound and, through his first two starts of the season, was one of the best performing pitchers in the league. Giving up no runs through two appearances caught the entire league off guard.

But, it all came crumbling down around DeSclafani who ended the season in the Reds bullpen. With Disco now free to sign with any team that he chooses, it seems his time in Cincinnati is coming to a close.

On the offensive side, some key players went down this year with injuries. With Mike Moustakas missing 16 games, and Nick Senzel missing 37, David Bell struggled to put a consistent lineup of everyday players on the field.

We saw players like Josh VanMeter and Philip Ervin thrown into the starting roles, something they were never meant to do. Sadly, those “experiments” landed both of those guys on different ball clubs by the time the trade deadline came around, with VanMeter posting a .059 batting average and Ervin hitting .086.

Getting Moose back in the lineup resulted in key offensive production that was missing in his absence. After an absence due to COVID-19 protocols following the first game of the season and then another stint on the IL, Moustakas rejoined the team for its September push, helping to guide the Reds to their first payoff appearance since 2013.

This lineup started to come together on September 14th against the Pirates when Nick Senzel returned from the IL. What proceeded was the Reds winning 10 out of their next 13 games, surprising everyone and locking up the No. 7 seed in the MLB Playoffs.

Senzel did not play his best baseball over that span, only recording six hits in his final nine games, but being put back in the lineup could have been a jolt of energy that the team so desperately needed.

We all saw glimpses of the player we hope Senzel can be during the team’s short playoff series with the Atlanta Braves. Senzel went 2-for-4 in Game One of the Wild Card Series and had multiple opportunities to score. The Reds need that on the field next season if they hope to improve offensively.

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If the Reds can give David Bell the opportunity to put out a consistent lineup day after day, this could be a very dangerous team. Don’t be shocked when they come back with unfinished business in 2021 and make a deep playoff run.