Nick Lodolo's absence looms large following Nick Martinez's latest performance

The lefty can't get back soon enough.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Injuries have crippled what could have been a successful season for the Cincinnati Reds. The list of ailing Reds stars includes Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and TJ Friedl. But the pitching staff has suffered a number of injuries as well.

Tejay Antone is out for the year with yet another elbow injury, Ian Gibaut is on the 60-day IL, and Brandon Williamson has just begun a rehab assignment in the minor leagues. But Nick Lodolo's absence is perhaps the most pronounced.

Reds fans watched Nick Martinez take Lodolo's turn in the rotation on Wednesday night, and though the right-hander put forth an efficient outing, ultimately he was rocked once the fifth inning began and eventually removed in favor of Brent Suter. The San Diego Padres put a three-spot on the scoreboard and the 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the inning was too much for the Reds to overcome.

The Reds are missing their best starting pitcher — Nick Lodolo

Martinez was a fine pickup for the Reds this past winter, but like so many on this year's team, he has a specific role. Martinez can eat innings — something the Reds were missing in 2023 — but he's not equipped to get through an opposing batting order more than twice.

The Reds were trailing 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning, then Martinez allowed back-to-back singles before the Padres' lineup turned over. A flyout courtesy of Luis Arráez gave Reds fans a bit of hope, but an RBI single off the bats of Fernando Tatis Jr. followed by Jurickson Profar's RBI double but the Reds down two and got Martinez yanked from the game.

Thankfully it appears as though Wednesday's outing could be the last for Martinez as a member of the Reds' rotation. Lodolo threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and could return to the Reds starting rotation on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

With the Reds not even able to string two wins together, Lodolo can't get back fast enough. Cincinnati will attempt to win their first series since sweeping the Los Angeles Angels last month with Opening Day starter Frankie Montas taking the hill on Thursday afternoon.

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