Lodolo's 12 K's, 0 runs 1st by a Reds lefty since 1972

April 9th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- The list of Reds left-handed pitchers who have achieved what did on Saturday isn't very long. It's been nearly 51 years since one notched 12 strikeouts without allowing a run, and Lodolo did so over seven innings vs. the Phillies.

The Reds should’ve had a rejoiceful postgame clubhouse after that start. Instead, Cincinnati was handed an early candidate for one of the most painful defeats of 2023 after a 3-2 loss at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies scored all three runs in the bottom of the ninth off the Reds' bullpen to walk off with the victory.

Lodolo gave up three hits with two walks (one intentional) and set a new career high in strikeouts while throwing 106 pitches.

The last Reds lefty to give up zero runs with 12 strikeouts was Tom Hall on May 14, 1972, against the Cardinals. The others to do it were Rube Benton and Johnny Vander Meer (five times). The last Reds lefty to collect 12 K's in a game was Amir Garrett, who allowed two runs in a loss to the Orioles on April 19, 2017.

Lodolo, who leads Major League Baseball in strikeouts (21) and whiffs (37), credited his fastball.

"My fastball command today, I felt like I could put it pretty much where I wanted, so it was good," said Lodolo, who now has a 1.50 ERA through two starts.

Lodolo used his fastball to strike out the side in the bottom of the first inning on the heels of Spencer Steer's solo homer in the top half for a 1-0 Reds lead. Although Lodolo didn't think his curveball was as good, it still baffled hitters.

A back-foot breaking ball hit Josh Harrison on the right knee as he whiffed for strike three to end the second inning.

"I remember last year, someone said, 'You hit everybody with [the curve],' and I said, 'I’m going to keep throwing it because of times like that,'" Lodolo said. "There is no question it’s my best pitch, so I’m just going to keep going to it."

During Lodolo's rookie season in 2022, he built confidence as he posted a 2.75 ERA over his final nine starts with back-to-back 11-strikeout games in that span.

"We saw him really good last year. He kept getting better," Reds manager David Bell said. "Looked a little bit different in Spring Training where you could see, going through a whole Major League season, he improved quite a bit. First couple starts here, he continues to gain confidence. Just getting even more command with his pitches."

In the seventh, with the tying run on first base and two out, a Lodolo curveball struck out Cristian Pache.

"Lodolo was good today," Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos said. "So we just had to find a way -- any way -- that we could get it done. Sometimes you have to play small ball, work a walk and take your hits."

With the Phillies' top of the order up in the eighth, Bell went to closer for a six-out save attempt. An electric Díaz struck out the side of Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto.

In the top of the ninth, Díaz idled for an extended period as the Reds made it a 2-0 game on Jake Fraley's sacrifice fly.

The bottom of the ninth proved disastrous for Díaz.

"I felt just as comfortable as I did in the eighth. I felt like I was ready to pitch," Díaz said via translator Jorge Merlos. "I felt like my arm was warmed up and ready to go for the ninth, so I didn’t feel any difference."

Díaz opened by walking Castellanos and threw a wild pitch before Alec Bohm's single put runners on the corners. With no one defending third base, Castellanos took a huge lead towards the plate. He even forced Díaz to step off the rubber as Brandon Marsh pinch-hit.

Marsh delivered an RBI single on Díaz's 32nd pitch of the game.

"It’s a tough ask to have him go back out for the ninth," Bell said. "He was pretty efficient and really good [in the eighth]. Just didn’t have the same stuff in the ninth.”

Against , Edmundo Sosa tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Bryson Stott finished it with an RBI single to right field.

"Stuff like that happens," Lodolo said. "There are going to be times when we play worse and we get a win, you know? There are going to be times I get out there and get smacked around a little bit and the guys get my back and keep us in the game and we end up winning. Yeah, it sucks, but we’ll bounce back."