Former Reds players had horrific return to Great American Ballpark on Opening Day

This was a day these former Reds would just as soon forget.

Washington Nationals third baseman Nick Senzel (13)
Washington Nationals third baseman Nick Senzel (13) / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

It was not a good homecoming for the trio of Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, and Josiah Gray. All three players were previously part of the Cincinnati Reds organization and none of them had a good showing at Great American Ball Park on Opening Day.

The Washington Nationals actually employ six former Reds players. In addition to Winker, Senzel, and Gray, the Nats' roster also features Dylan Floro, Derek Law, and Tanner Rainey. Floro actually pitched a scoreless inning for Washington when he came on for manager Dave Martinez in the sixth inning, so kudos to him.

But Winker was gunned down by Jake Fraley trying to stretch a single into a double. News flash, Jesse, you're not Elly De La Cruz. Gray gave up seven runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Gray struck out six Reds hitters, but also allowed two home runs - both to Nick Martini. And Senzel, well, he didn't even get onto the field. It was a terrible, no good, very bad day for the former Reds.

Former Reds players had horrific return to Great American Ballpark on Opening Day

Let's dissect Winker's performance first, shall we? After signing a non-roster deal with the Nationals during the offseason, Winker's contract was selected and the former All-Star was batting third in the lineup on Thursday. Winker laced a line drive into right field during his first at-bat, but foolishly tried to get two bases when one would've done just fine.

According to Baseball Savant, Winker's sprint speed ranked at the bottom of the league in 2023. Daniel Vogelbach runs faster than Winker. Even former Reds catcher Curt Casali had a faster sprint speed than Winker last season. Fraley's throw was on target, but Winker's decision-making was questionable at best. Winker was given a single on the play, and went 0-for-3 the rest of the game.

As for Gray, the former Reds farmhand got into trouble early. Gray threw 80 pitches over just four innings and was lit up for three runs in the second inning, with another four coming in the third. It wasn't Gray's day.

But Senzel's absence from the Nats' lineup takes the cake. For those who didn't hear, Senzel broke his thumb during pregame drills and was removed from the game before it even started. This shouldn't shock Reds fans in the least after seeing the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft spend more time in the training room than on the field.

Senzel's career in Cincinnati was defined by underperformance and injuries. It would seem that he's off on the same foot with the Nationals. Senzel will be placed on the IL and infield prospect Trey Lipscomb will reportedly take his place. If it wasn't for bad luck, Senzel would have no luck at all.

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