When a team is riding a six-game losing streak just 10 games into the season, it finds silver linings where it can.
Which is what Cincinnati manager David Bell found last Wednesday in the major-league debut of left-hander Nick Lodolo, who is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA after giving up five runs to the Cleveland Guardians on seven hits and three walks in just four innings.
“In some ways, it was a really successful debut,” Bell said of Lodolo’s effort. “I think it was a step forward to get this game in. … He had some struggles and bounced back. He was trying to figure it out. He wasn’t lost out there.
“He had an inning where he lost the strike zone a little bit, but he wasn’t wild. He wasn’t missing by much. He was trying to make some adjustments, and he did. His next two innings were better.”
The Reds’ hopes of snapping their six-game skid — after being swept by the Dodgers in a four-game series in Los Angeles — will ride on the efforts of Lodolo on Monday night when Cincinnati opens a three-game series in San Diego. That’s where the Padres are coming off a split of a four-game set with the reigning world champion Atlanta Braves.
If Lodolo’s shaky debut isn’t a concern for the Reds, tonight’s Padres starter should be.
Left-hander Sean Manaea (1-1) has a 1.38 ERA after his first two starts with the Padres. Formerly of Oakland, Manaea has allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. In his first start as a Padres, he held Arizona hitless over seven shutout innings.
But Manaea is 1-1 because the Padres, like the Reds, have had trouble getting runs. While Cincinnati was scoring only seven runs in four games against the Dodgers, the Padres had three straight two-run games against the Braves, although they emerged with a 2-1 win Sunday behind Yu Darvish.
What has kept the Padres’ heads slightly above water is generally sharp starting pitching, closer Taylor Rogers and a defense that is the first in major-league history to open the season with 11 straight errorless games.
“Defense is something that was a focal point in the spring; we wanted to increase intensity on defense,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “We’re trying to put an emphasis on some of the little things like defense and running the bases, and so far, we’ve been really good with that.
“We’ve been a little spotty with our offense. We had a couple good games and some down games. That will start to even out some as long as we stay disciplined in doing the little things.”
And in the pitching.
“We’ve been getting good starting pitching, and Manaea has fit right in, as I knew he would. At Oakland, he was a leader on and off the mound. It’s been the same thing here. He’s a great competitor on the field and a leader in the clubhouse.”
–Field Level Media