Reds’ Nick Lodolo strikes out 10 vs. White Sox in his first MLB start in 11 months

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Cincinnati Reds lefty Nick Lodolo excelled in a 5-0 win against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday (box score) in what doubled as his first big-league start in 11 months.

Lodolo, 26, began his outing with five hitless frames. He surrendered a hit (an infield single to Robbie Grossman) before departing in the sixth inning. Overall, he finished his afternoon with 5 ⅔ shutout innings. He surrendered just one hit and a walk, all the while racking up 10 strikeouts on 91 pitches. Overall, he generated 16 whiffs on 40 swings, with nine of those coming on his curveball and another six on his changeup. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph, or a slight improvement over last year’s seasonal average, according to Statcast.

Lodolo appeared just seven times in 2023 before suffering a stress fracture to his left tibia. He entered Saturday’s contest having amassed a career 4.31 ERA (103 ERA+) and a 3.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 starts. His contributions have been worth an estimated 2.5 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference’s calculations. 

“I’m confident and know what I bring to the table. It’s for me to get to the spot where I’m bringing it to the table,” Lodolo told reporters, including, back during spring training. “I was sitting there last year not able to do anything. It puts it into perspective for you. I couldn’t be more excited to just get going.”

The Reds originally drafted Lodolo with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft. He was the first pitcher selected that year, and was taken by way of TCU. 

The Reds’ win improves their record to 8-6 on the young season. The White Sox, meanwhile, are now a miserable 2-12 on the year.

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