On May 30th Nick Lodolo left his start for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts early after he developed a blister on his pitching hand. The Cincinnati Reds made the decision to have him skip his next start to give him some additional time to let the blister heal up. The left-handed pitcher got back on the mound on Saturday evening and was performing well until the 4th inning when he again had to exit the game early when the blister issue returned.
Nick Lodolo looked down and examined his hand after his warm up pitches were over prior to the 4th inning. After a ground out by the first batter of the inning he examined his hand again while the ball was being thrown across the infield. The first pitch to the next batter was a called strike and Lodolo got the ball back and then walked to the back of the mound and was looking at his finger again. He did the same thing after the next pitch. And then again after the next pitch that made it a 1-2 count. The 4th pitch of the at-bat was a breaking ball that went to the backstop. This time he sort of motioned to the dugout with his finger and the trainer and manager then came out to the mound to check on him. The discussion didn’t last very long before he was walking back to the dugout and a new pitcher was being summoned from the bullpen.
During the game, outside of a tough start to the top of the 2nd inning when he allowed a leadoff single and then hit the next two batters – working out of things with a strikeout and a double play – Nick Lodolo threw very well on Saturday night. His final line was 3.1 innings with no runs, 3 hits, 2 hit batters, no walks, and he struck out 7.
While both of his last two starts were shut down early, his performance has been nothing but stellar. His ERA now sits at 0.90 through his six starts and 30.0 innings where he’s walked just six batters and struck out 45.
Hayden Shenefield’s Pro Debut
A little over a week ago Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote about an unlikely story that was 100% true: The Cincinnati Reds wound up signing a player who essentially got in touch with the organization via a reddit ask me anything. You can read all about it here if you have a subscription to ESPN+.
He actually had a tryout set up in Goodyear with the Reds in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 shutdown led to it being cancelled as all of the baseball world came to an abrupt halt. Last summer, still unsigned, Shenefield pitched in the All-American Baseball Challenge league with New Jersey. He pitched incredibly well, allowing just four runs in 21.0 innings (1.71 ERA) on 13 hits, just two walks, and he struck out 33 batters.
In Bradenton the right-handed reliever made his debut on Saturday evening for the Daytona Tortugas. And it was a heck of a debut for the 4-time attempted walk-on reliever at San Diego State who was cut every year. Shenefield tossed 3.1 shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits, walking no one, and striking out four of the 11 batters that he faced.
In his debut he threw 38 pitches but only seven of those pitches were fastballs. He worked 88-90 with those offerings. He pitched mostly with his slider, which he threw 27 times in the 79-84 MPH range. The breaking ball averaged a spin rate of 2713 on the night, topping out at 2943 on a strikeout of Sergio Campana. Shenefield also mixed in a change up four times during the game.