Nick Lodolo was in peak form today, as he and two teammates shut out the Chicago White Sox, 5-0, before 22,598 at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (8-6) 5 4 0
Chicago White Sox (2-12)
0 2 0
W: Lodolo (1-0) L: Crochet (1-2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

Lefthander Lodolo held the Pale Hose to one hit over his 91 pitches, while the Reds offense was opportunistic. All of their four hits came in a five-run second inning, and two of them were with the bases loaded to drive in all five runs.

The Offense

Reds batters’ combined line was not very good today: 4-for-29 with four walks drawn and 15 strikeouts.

After Garrett Crochet looked like Sandy Koufax in the top of the first inning, the Reds made him look much more pedestrian in the second. Jeimer Candelario led the inning with a double, then went to third on a single by Stuart Fairchild. Santiago Espinal walked to load the bases, followed by a two-run Luke Maile single to put Cincinnati up 2-0. After a two-out Jonathan India walk loaded the bases again, Spencer Steer emptied them:

By the way, with 18 RBI in Cincinnati’s first 14 games, Steer is on pace for 208 ribeye steaks, as Chris Welsh refers to them.

The Pitching

Cincinnati pitchers’ composite line was eye-opening: 9 innings, 2 hits, 3 walks, 15 strikeouts and no runs.

Lodolo pitched 5 2/3 innings in his 2024 major-league debut, and he flashed unhittable stuff at times. He allowed one hit, one walk and hit two batters while striking out 10. The hit he allowed was an infield hit in the sixth inning. In that same inning, Steer made a nice running catch to rob a hit. Earlier in the game, when thoughts of a no-hitter were drifting through the minds of some in Redleg Nation, this brilliant catch kept those hopes alive:

Fernando Cruz relieved Lodolo and retired the final batter of the sixth on a strikeout, followed by two Ks in the seventh.

Brent Suter pitched the eighth and ninth innings, aided by this Bubba Thompson glove magic in the eighth:

What’s New(s)

I’ve always been hopeful that Lodolo would fulfill his high-first-round draft choice potential, but at the same time skeptical. I tend to lean more on what I see than what the common consensus is. Today he was pretty much unhittable, though you have to factor in that the White Sox are a very weak-hitting team after injuries have taken their toll on their lineup. Adding a pitcher to this team who performs near this level from start to start is an absolute game-changer.

Nick Martinez’s next start (if he gets one) will be very important for him. He seems the most likely pitcher that Lodolo will replace in the rotation.

Cruz is also looking more and more like a modern-day Bruce Sutter. Batters know a split-fingered pitch that will drop out of the strike zone is coming, but they still swing and miss anyway. For years I watched Reds batters do that time and time again against the Hall of Famer. Cruz seems to be moving up the bullpen depth chart, and deservedly so.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago White Sox

Sunday, April 14, 2:10 p.m. ET

Graham Ashcraft (1-1) vs. Michael Soroka (0-1)

75 Responses

  1. AllTheHype

    Impressive performance by Reds pitching. Lodolo spectacular, Cruz unhittable when he’s on.

  2. LDS

    Luckily, the White Sox are really bad. Four hits and 15 SOs isn’t a stellar performance. Fortunately, the hits bunched up at the right time. If he can stay healthy, Lodolo may still be a top if rotation pitcher.

    • wolfcycle

      This, I have said this for years that their is too much swing and miss in our game. Especially for the lack of HR’s hit in a very small ballpark

  3. Dennis Westrick

    Based upon his performance today, I believe Cruz will be the Reds’ closer soon!

    • AllTheHype

      He has the stuff for sure. He needs consistency though. There are some days where he comes out sorely lacking command. If he overcomes that eventually, then yes he can be the closer.

    • DW

      I called for him to be the number one setup man last year, but he fell short and I was wrong. Looking like maybe this year will be the year.

  4. Melvin

    Win tomorrow and we’ll be on pace for 97 wins if I’m not mistaken. Keep up the pace. 🙂

    • LT

      We’ll still play for 2nd place in central. Brewers always have good pitching but their offense looks scary in this early part of the season. Time will tell. I don’t need time to tell that Pirates will falter, however.

      • Doc

        Hanging tough with the Brewers while missing three of our best hitters, at least two of who return by mid-season, is pretty strong. Which top hitters do the Brewers have coming back over the next couple of months?

    • Oldtimer

      9-6 would be on pace for 97 W yes. But 8-7 would be on pace for 86 W.

      Way too early.

      • Melvin

        That’s why I’m hoping for a win tomorrow. lol 😀 A sweep is within reach. 😉

  5. Citizen54

    A good sign is that Lodolo`s velocity was 95. I don`t think he broke 93 last year. Martinez seems like he`d be the one forced to the pen and that`s not a bad thing. He seems to be good the first time though the lineup.

      • ChrisInVenice

        4-seamer sat at 94 most of day according to Statcast. Also had a curve w 81 degree break!

  6. VaRedsFan

    They beat a very good lefty today, who except for 1 inning was as advertised.
    He got hosed on the walk to India, which would have ended the inning.
    Good that the Reds took advantage.

    You won’t hit every day, but solid defense can help when you don’t.

  7. Mark A Verticchio

    They need to stack up as many wins as possible to get through that tough May schedule. Also hope to have Freidl back for that May schedule.

  8. Indy Red Man

    Hoskins 3rd hr .891 ops for Milwaukee. He was available when they got Candy.
    I’d be snooping around the bottom feeders and try to find some help vs lefties because that lineup was pretty weak today.
    Lodolo looked good though!

      • JB

        He can’t play 1st either. He is a huge liability in the field and why Philly let him go. Brewers are already finding this out and starting to DH him.

    • Tom Reeves

      The Reds just have to acquire a productive CES and add him to the line up. That’s the best option.

      CES is in the “league has adjusted to you” part of his development. I’m confident he’ll come through it.

      • greenmtred

        That occurred to me, too. I’m not observant enough to identify what the pitchers are doing differently when CES is batting, but he’s not the same hitter he was last season after he got his feet under him.

  9. Optimist

    Oh my – missed the day game updates, but this is very encouraging. Tempted to agree with LDS above, but the optimistic take is that this are games they should win, and this is how they should win them.

    Keep Lodolo healthy, and use Martinez in a 5 1/2 man rotation. Let he and Suter be multi-inning RPs the rest of the time.

    • LDS

      Wins are wins, but overall, the Reds didn’t hit all that well in this game. And yes, these are games they should win, as were the games against the Mets. Too frequently, the Reds make mediocre pitchers look like Cy Young candidates, and then, do well against far better pitchers. Seems to be a mental thing.

  10. redfanorbust

    Lodolo as we all see got thru 5 plus. Biggest stat is not no runs but no injury and he looked comfortable. Of course happy for the win but I take very little away from shutting out the WS. As noted by most they are a really poor club right now. We beat them. We are at par. Oh yeah btw Elly did not get a hit and got thrown out trying to steal. Send him down to AAA! 😛

  11. GreatRedLegsFan

    The White Sox are not the Brewers but yet, those are two outstanding pitching performances in a row. Also some surprising great outfield plays by Fraley yesterday and today by all.

  12. TR

    Couldn’t ask for more from Lodolo in his return. And good relief pitching to wrap it up. Except for the second inning, not a big offensive day.

  13. Andrew Brewer

    The Reds were put to the test, and the baseball gods smiled on us today. We’ve seen this team pour it on with two outs in the 9th this year already. As Yogi Berra once said, “When it comes to baseball you don’t ‘know’ nothin’ “. The difference in any game can be one pitch. The Reds had that special magic today.

  14. JB WV

    Really happy for Lodolo. That had to be a huge weight off his shoulders. I was worried about his command being shaky after such a long time away, but he answered that question in spades.

  15. Erik the Red

    The WS are not good. However, we did not get enough of these types of starts last year. So let’s hope it continues for Lodolo and Abbott all year.

  16. earmbrister

    Lodolo could be the best pitcher on this staff. This rotation should just get better and better as guys get experience and prospects get time. Not overly concerned about the Brewers, or anyone else right now. It’s a long season, and there’ll be hot streaks and cold ones. Missing three big bats right now, and we should get two of them back with a lot of season left. Break out the shades (squint, the future is SO bright).

  17. DW

    It is great to see a couple of wins that are not nail biters. Seems like they could never just beat a team by a comfortable margin last year, as well as the start of this year. This helps in so many ways.

  18. JB

    White Sox aren’t very good but the Reds took the series. Marlins aren’t very good but they did beat the Braves and Yankees. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day.

    • Oldtimer

      NYY are 12-3. Relief pitcher Weaver is 3-0 with 4.70 ERA. Three good outings out of four. WHIP 1.174 so far.

    • TR

      A potential winning team has to keep the intensity alive to win. No team can be overlooked.

  19. MBS

    I really like how they are using Suter. Bell had him in I think 4 of 6 games to start the year, but now he’s giving him proper rest. He’s going to pick up some 3 inning saves for the Reds this year.

    Also Lodolo looked dynamite. I wish I was free to watch the whole game, but I did see a couple of innings today.

  20. Kevin Patrick

    I went to Chicago to catch the game and just got back. I thought Crochet would get us today. Glad I was wrong. As I sat in right field and watched Bubba Thompson make that catch against the wall, I realized why he made the team. He got there in a hurry. Fantastic outfield play today. Frankly, I think those guys made our pitchers look good. Nice to get the call at first overturned too.

    • Harry Stoner

      Agreed.
      I like Bubba T.
      The Reds have had some good defensive CFs: Milner, ED, Billy, to remember.

      I don’t think Friedl is quite at that level, but he more than dependable.

      Bubba’s not a hitter, but he’s pretty fearless on the basepath and very solid D up the middle.

      He’s making his contributions, and no doubt his teammates are fully aware.

      Reds OF D is shakey: Bubba and Fairchild holding it down, and the RLN favorite can be shakey at times, too.

  21. Harry Stoner

    Lodolo threw 91 pitches, 33 of which were curveballs.

    Anyone thinking (a lefty) Don Drysdale?

    I hope Lodolo is sitting with Greene talking curveballs.

    • RedlegScott

      I certainly hope someone is, Harry.

      • greenmtred

        Greene is apparently talking to Montas and says he’s learning from his approach.

      • Harry Stoner

        I hope Greene is learning more than what was on display against the Brewers.

        He did start off with his curveball for a few hitters, even getting some called 1st strikes.

        I don’t recall seeing him throw it deeper in the count except maybe on some waste pitches.

        Hopefully he’s huddling with Cruz about his splitter as well.

  22. Tampa Red

    That was a great win. They’re not all masterpieces you hang in the Louvre, so Just enjoy them. It’s a W no matter how it happened.

  23. Mauired

    Good to get a win against a minor league team. The pitching did what they were supposed to and shut them down. The offense thankfully had one big inning and then completely disappeared. Of course Bell didn’t help the injured lineup with his platoon specials. Bubba 0-3 3ks subbing for Benson. But he did have a great catch along with Fairchild and Steer. Steer is starting to look like a pretty good outfielder. I’m just not sure about his arm out there. He had a pretty rough throw home that didn’t get anywhere close to home the other night.

  24. Mauired

    While watching I did notice it looks like Sox moved Kopech from rotation to closer this year. He’s making 3 million this year with one more year of control. Wouldn’t be a bad pickup for Reds bullpen. He was throwing filth and sitting around 99/100

    • Indy Red Man

      Didn’t know that. He could be a really interesting addition

  25. MK

    Suter needs a little love too. He can be an 8th inning guy also.

  26. Old Big Ed

    Crochet is an excellent pitcher. He now has 31 strikeouts in 22.2 IP, with a WHIP of 0.84. He beat the Braves earlier this year, giving up 3 hits in 7 innings.

    White Sox can’t score, especially without Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez.

  27. CI3J

    I just hope Lodolo’s leg can hold up. Like Antone’s arm, I just have a feeling like anything good we get from Lodolo is on borrowed time.

    Really, really hope I’m wrong, because boy is Lodolo fun to watch when he’s healthy.

  28. Jim t

    I enjoy how this team competes but if we want to be serious contenders to play in the post season CES and Candy will need to put some numbers up consistently. Moving them up and down in the batting order is not the answer. In my opinion Bell and staff are doing a good job getting wins out of group that has injuries to overcome and lack of production from two big bats in the middle of the order. It is still early but I am concerned about the lack of production we are getting from those two.

    • VaRedsFan

      All players go through slumps every year. When they come at the start of the season, it just seems amplified. CES had a string of good games until yesterday. Candy did have a double yesterday. They will emerge, and others going good right now, will eventually slump.

      Here are some stretches from 2023?

      Stephenson 3 for 31 (.097) July 6-July 27
      Steer 4 for 40 (.100) July 5-July 20
      Benson 5 for 35 (.143) August 24-September 5
      Fraley 6 for 42 (.143) May 17-June 1
      India 8 for 52 (.154) June 13-June 28
      Fairchild 6 for 36 (.167) August 7-September 22
      CES 10 for 56 (.179) August 13-August 29
      Friedl 12 for 67 (.179) July 6-July 29
      McLain 7 for 41 (.194) August 19-August 27

      • Tom Diesman

        Great post. Hopefully it will remind some that a baseball is a marathon of ups and downs and result in less knee jerk reaction rant posts.

      • Jim t

        @VaRedsFan, I agree everyone has ups and downs. The good teams are able to overcome those periods by having a fairly deep lineup. Not sure we have that. We are 8-6 but have not played a very challenging part of our schedule. I am hopeful we will see some consistency from our lineup as the season unfolds.

  29. LDS

    I see Friedl’s ramped up rehab has been pushed back 7-10 days. Too much optimism in Reds land regarding Friedl and McLain I suspect.

    • Mark Moore

      I read a couple of times that the aggressive timeline is what got “pushed back” because the bone hasn’t fully healed. I tend to agree we want to believe the most optimistic outcome will happen rather than understand it’s just possible, even though it isn’t likely. Averages are averages for a reason.

    • Optimist

      Not too much optimism, just realism. Aside from what you believe in the papers, Friedl still seems likely to return in 6-8 weeks. No reason to rush it. Doubt McLain is productive at all this season, but a month facing MLB pitching would help return him to form going into next year.

      Marte remains the interesting case – don’t know how the layoff affects him, and ineligible for the post-season, though that may not matter much this year.

    • ChrisInVenice

      One is not connected to the other.

  30. MBS

    Good to see that Steer is back in the 4 hole, and I think that Candy in the 6 hole is the right spot for him.

    • LDS

      A better lineup, though I think swapping CES and EDLC would be helpful. For that matter, Stephenson is hitting better than Candelario and moving him up ahead of Candy wouldn’t be bad.

      • MBS

        It feels like a win, so I won’t complain, but I’d like my top 6 to be like this

        1 India 2 EDLC 3 Steer
        4 Benson 5 CES 6 Candy

        They got Steer into a better RBI position, but I would also like to see EDLC protected by being surrounded by 2 quality RHB’s.

    • Mauired

      He’s batting 7th. Even better. Hopefully he gets comfortable and starts hitting. Great to see Bell finally made the move, after saying two day ago he wasn’t looking to spark anything when asked about changing his lineup.

      • greenmtred

        He may be a contrarian. For obvious reasons, I know them when I see them, or think I do.

    • Optimist

      It would be a very interesting lineup if roughly arranged by OBP. India and Steer up front, EDLC/Fairchild/Fraley/TySteve in the middle, the others to follow. Still prefer Benson lower down, and think CES will warm up, but if Elly keeps up anywhere near this level he has to be at bat in the first inning.

      • MBS

        It’s an interesting idea, but I think this early in the season you’d need to use 2023, and 2024 stats to make the call on who goes where.

  31. Indy Red Man

    24-3 we’ve beaten so far.. lol