Nick Lodolo delivered his best and longest start of the spring Monday, throwing six scoreless innings for the Cincinnati Reds in a 10-0 victory against the Los Angeles Angels.
Ten days before Opening Day at Great American Ball Park, Lodolo lowered his spring ERA to 1.93. He struck out eight and walked three while allowing three hits. He’s 4-0 in four appearances. He said he’s closer to being ready to start the season.
“If my next start was in the season, I’d be ready to roll,” Lodolo told reporters in Arizona.
Lodolo pitched two scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut on Feb. 28 and three scoreless innings in his second start March 5. In his third start on March 10, he allowed three earned runs on five hits in three innings.
The Reds did not have a spring training game Tuesday. They have six more, including a split-squad doubleheader Sunday, before the season opener March 30 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Lodolo expects to make one more start in spring training.
The Reds named Hunter Greene the Opening Day starter earlier this month. Lodolo should get the ball soon after in the first series. He was 4-7 with a 3.66 ERA last season. He pitched his best at the end of the season. He was 1-2 with a 2.48 ERA in his last six starts.
Of the returning starters, no one has pitched better this spring than Lodolo. Greene is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in four starts. Graham Ashcraft is 2-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four starts.
The Reds still need to settle on two more starters in the rotation. Luke Weaver has a 11.12 ERA in three starts but has not pitched since March 8 because of forearm soreness and may not be ready to start the season. Brandon Williamson has also made three starts and has a 6.55 ERA. Chase Anderson (5.40 ERA), Luis Cessa (4.50) and Connor Overton (14.85) all have made two starts as they compete for jobs.
In the game Monday, Lodolo escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth with a strikeout and flyout.
“I knew exactly what I needed to fix,” Lodolo said. “I’ve been fighting it all day. But other than that, I wasn’t missing by that much. It was good to slow things down and made a good pitch there on 3-2 to get two outs.”
Padres vs. Reds, 9:05 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700