Homers by Jake Fraley, Kevin Newman and Jonathan India led the Cincinnati Reds to their first win of the 2023 season, 6-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates before 22,224 at a very chilly Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1) 2 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (1-1)
6 6 1
W: Lodolo (1-0) L: R. Hill (0-1)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Cincinnati pitching retired the final 16 Pirates batters in the game, providing the visitors with no hope of mounting a comeback win.

The Offense

Jonathan India led off the game in the best way possible:

Then after a two-out double by Tyler Stephenson, Kevin Newman — in his first Reds at-bat — proved to be the master of his domain (or at least Pirates lefty Rich Hill) by crushing a home run of his own…. and the home team led 3-1 after one full inning.

Holding a 3-2 lead going to the bottom of the sixth, the Reds did damage against reliever Chase De Jong, who walked leadoff hitter Wil Myers on four pitches. Following a hit by Stephenson, manager David Bell pinch-hit Jake Fraley for Stuart Fairchild. The move paid off immediately as Fraley crusheed a 3-run homer to put Cincinnati ahead 6-2 – a score that would hold the rest of the way.

The Pitching

Reds starter Nick Lodolo had a difficult first inning which lasted 34 pitches, but he successfully avoided big problems, striking out Rodolfo Castro with the bases loaded to end the inning. Pittsburgh scored only one run on three singles and a walk — all with two outs.

Lodolo allowed a run in the third on two hits and a walk, but again escaped major damage by striking out the final two Pirates batters with runners on second and third. In the process, Lodolo exceeded Hunter Greene’s Opening-Day pitch count for three innings with 82.

The second-year lefty settled down to complete five innings with nine strikeouts, allowing seven hits and two walks in his 109-pitch afternoon.

The foursome of Ian Gibaut, Buck Farmer, Reiver Sanmartin and Alexis Diaz pitched perfect baseball over the final four innings, culminating the retirement of the final 16 Pittsburgh batters (started by Lodolo). After nine walks on Opening Day, Reds pitching walked only two batters today.

What’s news

Joey Votto got his rehab assignment out on the correct foot. Votto hit the first pitch he saw 448-feet for a home run in the 1st inning of tonight’s Louisville Bats season opener.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, April 2, 1:40 p.m. ET

Vince Velasquez (3-3, 4.78 ERA in 2022 with White Sox) vs. Graham Ashcraft (5-6, 4.89 ERA in 2022)

56 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Nice win, and a seamless transition to the Bats game, via the MLB subscription. This will be fun. And I may never leave the house.

    • Melvin

      Yeah. I’m enjoying watching the Bats on TV. Took advantage of the one week offer from T-Mobile for a free year of MLB tv. For anyone who wants to take advantage I think the offer ends real soon.

      • RedsintheATX

        Hey Melvin, I too have the mlb package through T-Mobile but when trying to sign up for the Mimlb it says I’m ineligible. Can you tell me how you were able to sign up? I live in Texas so maybe that’s the issue.

      • Melvin

        I’m not sure what to tell you other than I have an android phone. I downloaded T-Mobile Tuesdays app. I believe you have until April 4th. Hope that helps.

  2. Redsvol

    Great wrap-up Tom. love the video clips. Still too many strikeouts for my taste but nice clutch hitting and great bullpen performance. Nice to be in the win column!

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Thank you for the kind words! Great to see them get a win and hopefully avoid last year’s horrendous start.

      • TR

        A big win on a cool, windy day with a nice crowd in attendance. A ways to go to avoid last years start; the Reds did open on the road with a split against the champion Braves and then…. I sense a change in atmosphere and I like the Viking helmet. Cessa seems like a fun guy. Baseball, like all pro sports is a long grind. A good clubhouse atmosphere is important.

    • Kevin Patrick

      There were a couple strikeouts that may have been walks.

      • 2020ball

        questionable umpiring both games


  3. J

    So far, I’m feeling pretty good about my passionate defense of Kevin Newman. Hopefully I can keep feeling good for a while.

    Reds only need to win 3 of the next 23 games to be ahead of last year’s record after 25 games. Tough schedule ahead, but I think they can do it. Winning tomorrow would be huge.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m with you. He hit the ball harder than I thought he would in the spring, and continued today. I think there is more there than meets the eye (at least the one that looks at his career stats).

      • 2020ball

        Its easy to see if you know what to look for, nice insurance if Barrero flops. That will look like a great trade in a few years IMO, even if his offense is just average.

    • Melvin

      “Reds only need to win 3 of the next 23 games to be ahead of last year’s record after 25 games. Tough schedule ahead, but I think they can do it.”

      Haha Hope so. 🙂

    • SteveAreno

      Should be no need to defend Kevin Newman, though. He had a fine season last year. HIs season was better than most Reds themselves! You know, the ones some fans are gushing over.

  4. Old-school

    Fun game.
    Let’s win the series tomorrow!
    Go Reds

  5. MBS

    Fraley, India, Stephenson are the 3 best hitters we have currently on the 26 man. We’re only 2 games in, but they’re off to a good start. If we add Votto to that mix that’s a strong 1 – 4. If Myers is who he’s been, and If 2 of Benson, Barrero or Steer pan out, then look out!

    Only criticism is our starters need to go after the hitters, and stop dragging out counts. We need to get 6 from these guys to keep the pressure off the pen. The less men used to get to Diaz the better.

    • Harry Stoner

      Since I’ve been on a steady crow diet since the shedding of The Chad and Strickland (sort of) let me add a side order of Fraley.

      I was in deep ‘meh’ mood following the trade.

      But Jake the Rake is slowly winning me over, not least of which comes from his reputed zen mindfulness as a key to his new approach to the game.

      I’m looking forward to him and JV playing together again.

    • Melvin

      Yeah. Wouldn’t it be great to get seven or eight from the Big Three at least? 🙂

  6. Mark Moore

    Winning is always fun. The guys battled well in the chilly conditions. Good thing we know the weather will warm up at some point. And I’m glad I was watching on the TV rather than sitting there freezing my bunz off.

  7. LT

    Great 1st W of the season! Fun having winning baseball back.

  8. MK

    I’ve gotten to know and spend some time with Jesse Winker and really liked the young man. i was disappointed when he was traded, but to this point Fraley has outplayed him and makes that deal a lot less lopsided than people wanted to believe.

    • 2020ball

      The supposed headliner might look like the third best piece in a few years. Interesting trade, I thought it had the chance to look sneaky good in the future when it happened. Was hoping for more from BW at the time, pleasantly surprised at what we’ve gotten from Fraley.

  9. Harry Stoner

    India seems to be getting his mojo back.

    The potential Fraley India Votto Stephenson vibe might have some legs.

    The 2022 team had its legs cut out from under it twice during the salary dumps.

    Let’s hope the team gells again and the Young Turk SP3 lead the way.

  10. Michael B. Green

    Lodolo was allowed to pitch?!? A little over 100 pitches?!? Amazing! A professional pitcher was actually allowed to throw pitches, work out of jams, etc. If Greene was allowed to do that, we’d be 2-0. Either way, I’m happy.

    Let’s see what Ashcraft can do.

    • 2020ball

      Allowed to throw pitches? I’m actually not sure how to respond to that…

    • 2020ball

      Greene was subject to wildness and finicky umpiring. Not everything is on Bell, broken record, broken record, broken record.

    • BK

      Greene and Lodolo’s circumstances were very different. First, Greene started strong and then faltered. Lodolo struggled early, then cruised. The Reds had a scheduled day off following Greene’s start–everyone in the bullpen was available and would be in the next game, too. Lodolo pitched in the first of a 6-day stretch with games every day; the bullpen did not need to get overused on the first day.

      Different contexts often lead to different decisions. Bell’s track record of letting both starters work out of jams is strong. However, Bell is supposed to manage to win both the present game and the next ones. That’s what he did.

    • DHud

      That professional pitcher also needed 100+ pitches to get through 5 innings which is no model for sustained success

      • MBS

        Exactly right, it’s not Bells fault Greene had 80+ in less than 4 innings. Greene will be alright, just wasn’t a good day for him.

    • greenmtred

      MLB starters for some years now have averaged under 6 innings per start. Many reasons, including 3rd time through the order stats, but also including the stress of high-velocity pitches. Greene threw more 100mph pitches in his abbreviated start than all of the other pitchers in MLB that day.

  11. Votto4life

    I didn’t get to watch the game, but it sounds like they got a solid effort from the bullpen, which is encouraging.

    • 2020ball

      It won them the game, it probably wins the game yesterday too.

    • JayTheRed

      This bullpen is not as bad as people think it is. Sure, are they going to falter sometimes. Yes! but overall, I like it. Another fun game to watch.
      Reds Record 1-1
      Reds Fun games to watch 2 – 0

      • 2020ball


        Amen to fun games. Lost in all the whining yesterday was an actual watchable good game.

      • CI3J

        I’ve kept saying this bullpen is not going to be as bad as people are expecting too.

        Diaz, Sanmartin, and Young is a very solid backend of the bullpen.

        Farmer, Gibaut, Law, and Cruz should all be, at worst, average relievers.

        Kuhnel should be on a very short leash and the first out the door when Sims or Santillan are ready. I honestly don’t know who else to get rid of when both are ready.

        Wonder if Sims or Santillan would be willing to try being a starter again?

  12. Reddawg2012

    Really nice team win. Timely home runs, starting pitching was good enough, and a shut down bullpen. More of that please.

    Another brutal game from the home plate umpire. I almost wish they would remove the strike zone box on TV until they are ready to commit to robo umps for balls/strikes. I know it all evens out over the course of a season, but it’s so frustrating to watch blatantly missed calls that hurt our team and extend innings for the young pitchers.

  13. Kevin H

    Reds offense two games in scoring runs. Great sign, and this is without Votto and Senzel. When they get back into the lineup and stay healthy. Reds offense could be a good one. Time will tell

    • Michael

      Only if Senzel is a good hitter. He hasn’t been yet.

      • Kevin H

        I truly believe when they messed with his swing his rookie season or second season he fell off.

        Without looking I recall his rookie year was solid.

      • LDS

        I agree @KevinH. In fact, Senzel complained publicly about the changes that Turner was pushing a few years ago, in 2019 if I remember correctly.

  14. old-school

    India and Fraley look like 2 professional hitters that can wreak havoc at the top of the line up. My way too early prediction is both flirt with the top 10 in the NL in runs scored and hits for a good chunk of the season. Throw in Stephenson with his hit tool and the Reds top 3 in the order could be some big time run creators.

    That assumes Bell moves Fraley to the #2 hole and drops Friedl to the 6 or 7 hole against righties.

  15. LDS

    The lineup is out for today and Bell can’t help himself. Barrero to the bench already. Newman to start. It’s the third game of the season. Is Barrero injured? Not that I’ve seen reported. Is he tired? Unlikely at his age. He’s hitless in the first two games but so what. Give the guy the PAs and see if he can get it going. You don’t develop talent by letting them watch the game from the bench. This is why Bell has to be gone before EDLC and the others arrive.

      • LDS

        Go ahead @GreenMTred, tell me how Newman hit a home run yesterday and how brilliant Bell was for pinch hitting Fraley. Fairchild and Barrero both have a greater upside than Newman. Fairchild can hit against both LH’ers and RH’er, something Fraley has never done. Consequently, though his lifetime BA is lower than Fraley, I suspect his upsdie is greater. Fraley is a lesser version of Winker a couple of years ago. Nothing more in all likelihood. But, go ahead and tell me you want Bell calling the shots for EDLC, McLain, and the rest.

    • BK

      You didn’t expect Barrero to start at SS, yesterday, and he did. Every player gets days off as Bell plans days off for all of the starters.

      • LDS

        Sorry that argument doesn’t hold water. He played Votto continuously regardless of performance. injuries, and age. Young and inexperienced performers, in any endeavor, sports and the real world, do not develop unless they are given plenty of opportunities, including plenty of opportunities to fail. Failure is part of growing and vital to future success.

      • BK

        @Melvin, the players have been at it since mid-February.

      • Melvin

        @BK – Don’t you think most of it was working out and practice time? I don’t think they were even close to playing every day. Don’t you think a player works out/practices most every day (like today) even on an off day in the regular season? There are different ways of looking at it. Personally in my view a young guy does not need a day off only three games into the year. Probably no one does, again in my view.

      • BK

        Melvin, Bell has explained why he gives players planned days off. As he’s explained, his approach is based on research to inform optimized performance for pro athletes. Thus, it’s a well-reasoned, logically grounded, and credible approach.

      • Melvin

        “Thus, it’s a well-reasoned, logically grounded, and credible approach.”

        BK – I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of players in the present and past that would disagree with that statement. I can understand to a certain degree but not as far as Bell carries it. I guess I’m just not a fan of the extreme. For example Bell has said he already has Stephenson’s schedule planned out for most of the year. As we’ve seen in the past, Bell does NOT like to deviate from his plans. That’s an easy way to manage. Managing is day by day, situation by situation, player by player etc. There are all kinds of reasons that we can debate about as to why “plans” need to change from time to time. If you would ask most players I’m sure they would rather play every day and have as little days off as possible. I doubt, if you would ask, if there is a single player that would say he needs a day off in the first week of the season. That’s extreme planning in my view. Repetition, getting in a groove, then staying in that groove is extremely important. I understand it’s hard for a bench player to be effective with just a little playing time a week. Not every player can do it. It’s something they have to learn how to do. However there is a reason that there are regular players and bench players. Tell you what. If David Bell hangs around long enough and proves he can win consistently with this approach I may change my mind. Hadn’t done it yet though in 4+ years especially at the begging of the season. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got a good start so far this year. Hope it keeps going.

      • greenmtred

        I don’t know why Barrero got the day off. Neither do you. You didn’t hear that he’s injured, ipso facto he isn’t Or, they aren’t discussing it; there’s always that. Or, he needs a day to regroup and get his head right because he hasn’t been hitting. Or something else; maybe they want to give Newman some reps. He’s on the team and every single one of the 26 guys on the team needs to play often enough to stay sharp. The season is too long to do otherwise.

  16. Grand Salami

    Timely hitting and good bullpen work made this game much more enjoyable along with the faster pace! Is it too much to hope for a .500 ball club?