Reds: The insurmountable task of overcoming Jesse Winker’s absence

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jesse Winker (33) walks to the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jesse Winker (33) walks to the dugout. /

The Cincinnati Reds were humming right along until Jesse Winker hit the IL with an intercostal injury in mid-August. The loss of their All-Star outfielder has left the Redlegs searching for answers and finding none.

The Reds have lost seven consecutive series, including losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs. Ouch! Winker was placed on the 10-day injured list back on August 15th. Since then, Cincinnati has gone 12-16 with only one series victory, a four-game sweep of the last-place Miami Marlins.

Outside of that four-game sweep over the Fish, the Cincinnati Reds have failed to string together more than two victories in a row since Winker’s been shelved. This team has suffered injures to some of their most prominent players this season, but collecting Ws with Winker out of the lineup has been a Herculean task.

The Reds could not overcome the loss of Jesse Winker.

Joey Votto missed a month with a broken thumb. Mike Moustakas landed on the 60-day IL with a foot injury. Nick Senzel hasn’t been seen since late-May. And Nick Castellanos missed three weeks with a microfracture in his wrist

Each time the Reds lost one of their biggest bats, the team was able to rally and win games despite David Bell not having his full compliment of players. However, Jesse Winker’s absence has proven to be too much to overcome.

When Votto was out of the lineup from May 7th through June 7th, the Reds went 13-14 (.481). With Moustakas on the shelf from May 19th through August 5th, Cincinnati won 39 games and lost 28 (.582). While Castellanos was nursing his wrist injury, the Redlegs went 8-4 (.666). But, with Winker out, the team has posted a .428 winning percentage.

Winker’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Reds are pressing, trying to put some semblance of an offensive performance together, and the bats have failed miserably. Furthermore, it’s likely that once Da Wink returns to the lineup, perhaps as early as today, fellow outfielder Tyler Naquin will land on the IL.

Naquin is nursing a rib injury and hasn’t been back in the lineup since colliding with Jose Barrero in St. Louis last week. So, while Bell might be relieved to get Winker back atop the batting order, he’ll still be stuck with the less-than-optimal options of Delino DeShields, Shogo Akiyama, and Aristides Aquino playing center field.

Next. Who loses their roster spot when Winker returns?

The Cincinnati Reds trail the St. Louis Cardinals by one game for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. With the Cards playing host to the San Diego Padres, Cincy will have a chance to regain the lead in the chase for that elusive spot in the postseason, but they’ll have to upend the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend to do it.