MLB: Reds turn to Nick Lodolo in series finale vs. Red Sox

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The Cincinnati Reds will send one of the National League’s hottest pitchers to the mound Sunday afternoon when they try to win the rubber match of a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Left-hander Nick Lodolo (8-2, 2.76 ERA) is listed as Cincinnati’s starter for Sunday’s matchup. Lodolo won his fifth consecutive start Tuesday when he pitched seven innings in a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh. He recorded eight strikeouts, gave up four hits and didn’t walk a batter. Lodolo has limited opponents to seven runs in 30 1/3 innings over his past five outings.

“I thought, overall, I just felt in control,” Lodolo said following Tuesday’s victory. “I just want to go out there and give us a good chance to win. … The goal is for me to go out there and get myself in position to win.

“I’m really just five days at a time. I feel like you start looking ahead, you never know. I just have to stay present and do it again in five days.”

The only run Lodolo allowed against Pittsburgh was a solo home run to Ke’Bryan Hayes with one out in the seventh inning. He retired 11 in a row before giving up the home run.

Lodolo is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his career against the Red Sox. He’s made one appearance against Boston and allowed three runs on three hits — including two homers — in five innings of a 5-3 setback on Sept. 20, 2022.

Cincinnati opened the three-game series against Boston with a 5-2 victory on Friday. The Reds, however, squandered a three-run lead in a 4-3 loss on Saturday and fell to 2-5 in their past seven games.

Boston has won six of its past seven. Saturday’s win improved the Red Sox to 4-1 on their current road trip.

“Secures a good week, right,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “That’s four (wins) this week. We get a chance tomorrow against a good lefty. He’s really good, so we’ll see what we do. It feels good winning this one.”

Rafael Devers’ sacrifice fly scored Jarren Duran to break a 3-3 tie Saturday.

“A good team win,” Boston’s Rob Refsnyder said. “Just looking back at it, it feels like everyone contributed.”

The Red Sox are expected to employ a bullpen game Sunday after sending right-handed starting pitcher Cooper Criswell to Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday. Criswell made 11 starts for the Red Sox after being recalled from Worcester.

Right-hander Zack Kelly (2-1, 1.75) is expected to get the start. Kelly is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career appearances (1 1/3 innings) against Cincinnati.

The Red Sox didn’t play Thursday and have three days off during a 12-day stretch that begins June 27. That could allow Boston to use its top four starters — Tanner Houck, Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta — until at least early July.

The Reds have hit five home runs in the first two games of the series but had two players thrown out at the plate and another picked off second base Saturday.

“We’re going to be an aggressive baserunning team,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “We have to continue to learn from each thing and get every edge on the bases. It’s going to be a part of our game.”

–Field Level Media

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