So, it wasn’t exactly the way the Cincinnati Reds hoped to start the home-portion of their 2022 season. After an absurdly long owner-induced lockout, Phil Castellini played [open mouth, insert whole leg] before Opening Day in GABP could even begin yesterday, and that game ended with José Ramirez socking a coffin-nail grand slam for a Cleveland win.
Today was supposed to be a forward-looking day instead of letting that gross disappointment linger, especially with potential future ace Nick Lodolo on the mound for his big league debut. But before that could even begin, a rain delay pushed the matinee start time back and rendered GABP predictably empty again, and Lodolo himself contributed to the climate by being plagued by an unexpected bout of wildness in his outing.
He hit a pair of Guardians, albeit on breaking pitches that hit back feet. He walked 3 in just 4 IP, something that flies in the face of what’s been his calling card through the minors - his control. Ramirez socked a dinger off of him, as did whatever an Owen Miller is, and the end result was 5 ER allowed in his 79 pitch day.
There was some promise in there, of course. The HBPs were on pitches that moved like Jagger, and he sat 93-95 mph with a fastball that looked like it had some late life courtesy of Lodolo’s lanky, 6’6” frame. It wasn’t the kind of day where he’ll want to forget it all, in other words, and he did fan 4 (and even got Steven Kwan to swing and miss at an offering for the first time since the Treaty of Utrecht).
I’d be remiss to not point out that the Reds offense was putrid on the day, putrid to the point that a frameable outing by Lodolo still might not have been enough. Jake Fraley socked a long solo blast (which meshed greatly with his excellent defensive display in CF on the day), while a late 2-run wall-scrapin’ tater from Tyler Stephenson proved to be the only other swat worth remembering on the day.
The Reds lost 7-3, thanks in part to whatever an Owen Miller is hitting a second, late dinger. They fell to 2-4 in the early going, and now head out on a 6-game west coast road trip with the Los Angeles Dodgers next up on the list.
Where are ya gonna go?
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jake Fraley made a laid-out, diving catch to help Lodolo escape a bases-loaded jam early, one that if not made could very well have made the first few paragraphs of this particular recap that much darker.
That he also swatted the kind of dinger that was by no means a GABP special continues to make me believe he’s got the chance to be a pretty serviceable regular for the Reds this year and beyond, the kind of player that even the best teams have on their active rosters.
Honorable Mention is due to: Tyler Stephenson, who has ‘star’ written all over him, though his 2-run tater in the Bottom of the 8th was absolutely a GABP special as it bounced off the wall just beyond the outstretched glove of Oscar Mercado; and Tyler Naquin, who singled and doubled while continuing to look like the Red most likely to actually potentially maybe net something of worth when definitely traded at the deadline this year.
- Riley O’Brien was DFA’d this morning to get Lodolo a spot on the 40-man roster, while Daniel Duarte was optioned to AAA to get Lodolo a spot on the active roster.
- Fewer than 11,000 fans showed up to this one, and that was the announced attendance.
- The Reds will catch a steamboat to Los Angeles later today, and tomorrow they’ll open their 4-game set at Dodger Stadium at 10:10 PM ET, which I’m sure you east coasters will enjoy. Reiver Sanmartin will try to right his ship with the start, while Walker Buehler will toe the rubber for the Dodgers.