Cincinnati Reds: Mike Moustakas can’t come back fast enough

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas (9) tracks a groundball during drills.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas (9) tracks a groundball during drills. /

Some players just have that “it” factor. For the Cincinnati Reds, Mike Moustakas is that guy. This team needs him back in the worst way. Moustakas has been out of the lineup since April 14th against the San Francisco Giants. Is it any coincidence that the Reds have gone 2-7 since Moose left the lineup?

To a man, everyone on this year’s Cincinnati squad will point to Mike Moustakas as the team’s leader. First baseman Joey Votto has been effusive in his praise of Moustakas, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale that the Reds, “haven’t had a figure like that on the position player side in a long time.”

Considering that Votto himself is a position player and a veteran, I don’t quite know what to make of that statement as it relates to the six-time All-Star himself being a leader, but his praise for Moustakas is noted and it’s seen throughout the clubhouse. The position players on this team look up to Mike Moustakas. You could argue that Sonny Gray plays the same role for the pitching staff.

Mike Moustakas was off to a hot start for the Reds in 2021.

Moustakas was off to a hot start, hitting .289/.404/.553 with two round trippers and five RBIs in his first 38 at-bats. Moustakas had reached base safely in nine of the 12 games he’d played thus far in 2021.

A viral infection (non-COVID-19 related) has sidelined Moustakas for the better part of a week. After being pulled from the starting lineup last Tuesday, the Reds placed the three-time All-Star on the injured list, but is eligible to return on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Moose sounds upbeat about getting back it. Here’s what he had to say to Sterling Bright of

"“The IL gave me some time to be able to relax and not put so much pressure on myself and be able to get better and I felt a lot better over these last couple of days for sure.”"

If all goes well, Moustakas will be back at the hot corner for the Reds when Cincinnati is set for Game 2 of their three-game set versus the World Champion Dodgers. The Reds are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and with the series finale versus the St. Louis Cardinals in question, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for Cincinnati to return home riding a 10-game skid. Yikes!

Is Mike Moustakas the answer the Reds’ offensive woes?

Since Mike Moustakas left the lineup, the Reds have gone from averaging 6.25 runs per game to 5.00 runs per game. Three of the team’s seven losses during that stretch have been by one run and three of those games have gone to extra innings. You have to think that having Moose in the lineup would be enough to turn one or two of those losses into wins.

The Reds have run out Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino in Moose’s absence, and while both are quality utility infielders, neither is going to provide the same level of production and leadership that this team receives from Moustakas.

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All signs point to Mike Moustakas returning to the lineup in the next couple days, and it couldn’t come any sooner for the Cincinnati Reds. This six-game skid has moved Cincinnati out of the penthouse and into the cellar of the NL Central. This team needs Moose back in the lineup.