Reds starters must become more efficient moving forward

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds have begun the season 1-1 thanks in large part to the long ball. The Redlegs blasted three home runs in Saturday's contest and picked up a 6-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Nick Lodolo lasted five innings, but it was questionable that he was ever going to make it out of the first inning. The Reds starter had to throw 35 pitches in the first inning and nearly hit the 30-pitch mark again in the third inning.

Lodolo made it through five, but needed 109 pitches to do it. The Reds Opening Day starter, Hunter Greene, needed 83 pitches just to make it through 3.1 innings of work. Hopefully Graham Ashcraft has a more efficient outing on Sunday because the Reds are going to need better showings from their big three.

Reds starters must become more efficient moving forward.

To be fair to both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, the pair had a couple borderline pitches during their starts that would have gotten them out of some tough situations. Unfortunately, the umpire did not see things that way and it resulted in longer innings than either Greene or Lodolo would have hoped for.

But with the way this Reds squad is put together, the team is going to be reliant on their starters, especially the trio of Greene, Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft, to get deep into ball games.

Both the backend of the starting rotation and the bullpen as a whole might best be described as shaky. There are certainly questions as to the effectiveness that Connor Overton will have after struggling through the spring. Luis Cessa, while getting a chance to start, has been a reliever throughout most of career.

Then there's the bullpen. Although the quartet of Ian Gibaut, Buck Farmer, Reiver Sanmartin, and Alexis Diaz pitched well on Saturday, the confidence level surrounding this year's relief corps is low. Getting an efficient performance from the top three starting pitchers will keep the bullpen well rested.

Graham Ashcraft toes the rubber for the first time on Sunday afternoon. The right-hander is arguably the most efficient of the Cincinnati Reds starting pitchers. Ashcraft is typically aggressive with his pitch selection and is looking to get batters out quickly. We'll see if that's the case today.

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