Have Reds fans forgotten how good Nick Lodolo really is?

Nick Lodolo is on track to return later this month.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

It appears as though Hunter Greene will return to the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation later this week or early next week. Greene has been sidelined for nearly two months with a hip injury.

Another starting pitcher won't be too far behind. Nick Lodolo, who was sent to the Arizona Complex League to begin a rehab assignment this past week, will now head to Double-A Chattanooga in an attempt to ready himself for a return to the Reds rotation.

Lodolo has been out of action since early-May with a calf injury. While his first seven starts weren't ideal, there's every reason to believe that Lodolo's injury was partially to blame for his poor performance at the outset of the season. Have Reds fans forgotten how good Lodolo really is?

Fans were clamoring for Nick Lodolo to be the Reds Opening Day starter.

Prior to the start of the 2023 season, Hunter Greene was named the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day starter. That caused some grumbling among the Cincinnati faithful, as many believed that Nick Lodolo was actually the better pitcher.

Both pitchers made five starts during spring training, but Lodolo owned a 2.16 ERA with 22 punch outs in 16.2 innings of work. Greene went 17.1 innings, recorded 14 strikeouts, and posted a 3.12 ERA. A compelling case could have been made for either pitcher.

Lodolo looked terrific during his first two starts of the 2023 season. The left-hander went 12 innings while striking out 21 batters, posted a 1.50 ERA, and 0.77 FIP.

But in the five starts since, Lodolo really looked off his game. The former first-round pick allowed 10 balls to leave the yard, hit seven batters, and was getting tattooed to the tune of nearly a .400 batting average against. Something wasn't right.

Hopefully, when Nick Lodolo returns to the Cincinnati Reds' rotation later this month, the southpaw is that same pitcher whose first 21 starts saw him strike out over 30 percent of the batters he faced.

Lodolo went two innings of scoreless baseball in his first rehab start while punching out four batters. Let's hope for more of the same when Lodolo makes his next rehab start for the Chattanooga Lookouts this week.