3 Reds players who've underperformed this season and need to step up down the stretch

if the Reds are going to make a playoff push, they're going to need some of their best players to step up.

Cincinnati Reds players Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India
Cincinnati Reds players Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages
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3. The Reds need Nick Lodolo to step up down the stretch.

This one was a little tricky, and Hunter Greene's name could easily slide in here as well. But before his injury, Greene was pitching very well. Nick Lodolo, on the other hand, looked dreadful before his IL stint. Let's hope he comes back with a vengeance.

During spring training, Lodolo received the fan vote to be the Reds Opening Day starter. That instead went to Greene. When Greene received his contract extension, many fans were hoping that Lodolo would have received such a deal.

But fast forward to the present, and I'm not sure that sentiment is the same anymore. Greene, prior to his hip injury, was pitching rather well. He was hitting his spots and the strikeouts were up. Over his final five starts before heading to the injured list, Greene 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA and 41 punch outs in just over 30 innings of work.

Lodolo, however, owns a 6.29 ERA in his seven starts this season. The left-hander is striking out batters and an incredible clip (12.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched), but the long ball has killed him. After giving up just 13 home runs in 103 innings in 2022, through 34.1 innings of wotk, Lodolo has already surrendered 10 round trippers.

All signs point to Nick Lodolo returning later this month. If he's fully healthy, the Cincinnati Reds need some strong performances out of the former first-round pick. The Reds starting rotation has been harshly criticized of late, but a healthy Lodolo would help right the ship. Cincinnati needs Lodolo back on the bump down the stretch.

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