Elly De La Cruz overshadows Reds' unsung hero in Thursday's win over Dodgers

Elly was the star, but the Reds' bullpen deserves a ton of credit.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Martinez
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Martinez / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

What more can you say about Elly De La Cruz? The Cincinnati Reds shortstop is an absolute star in the making. Kudos to Reds manager David Bell for Wednesday's decision to sit De La Cruz, as the day off appeared to have reinvigorated Cincinnati's budding All-Star infielder.

On Thursday night in Los Angeles, De La Cruz was the star. The 22-year-old phenom went 4-for-4 with four steals, three runs scored, and a walk. The Reds won by a final of 7-2 and are hopeful that Thursday's victory is the catalyst for a much-needed turnaround after Cincinnati had lost 15 of their previous 19 games.

But while most are passing out compliments to De La Cruz — and rightfully so — it was the Reds bullpen that excelled in a tough spot on Thursday night. More specifically, Nick Martinez was the Reds' unsung hero and deserves a ton of credit for his performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

Reds SS Elly De La Cruz overshadows Nick Martinez in Thursday's win over LA Dodgers

The Reds lost starting pitcher Nick Lodolo earlier this week after the left-hander was placed on the 15-day injured list with a groin strain. Rather than call up a spot starter, the Reds chose to add Sam Moll back to the bullpen. That meant that Martinez was likely to get the bulk of the innings on Thursday night in LA.

While he didn't start, Martinez worked five innings and allowed just one hit while striking out four batters and didn't allow a single free pass. By all accounts, the Dodgers have the most dangerous lineup in baseball with the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman. Those three players were 0-for-6 against Martinez. The only player to reach base safely was Teoscar Hernandez.

Lucas Sims locked things down in the eighth inning after coming on for Martinez. Though Moll scuffled with the Dodgers' lineup in the bottom of the ninth, Buck Farmer was able to lockdown the final two outs and put this one in the win column for Cincinnati.

Martinez and the Reds' bullpen sent 53,000 Dodgers fans home with a frown on their face after shutting down LA in the first game of the series. While a number of relievers were used in the Reds' victory, both Alexis Diaz and Fernando Cruz were able to get the day off.

The hope is, of course, that Frankie Montas gives Bell some length on Friday night with the Reds looking for two wins in a row. Cincinnati has not won back-to-back games since April 24th against the Philadelphia Phillies. It sure would be a nice sight to watch the Reds string together some wins and get back into the NL Central race.

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