Nick Lodolo making his case to be the Reds 2023 Opening Day starter

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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If you asked most Reds fans who they think will be Cincinnati's Opening Day starter later this month, most would probably respond with the name Hunter Greene.

That's fair, and definitely not a bad answer at all. After watching how the former No. 2 overall pick dispatched of hitters after returning from the IL late last season, Greene should probably be atop the Cincinnati Reds rotation in 2023.

But keep an eye on fellow hurler Nick Lodolo. After another successful outing on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, Lodolo is making the case to be the Reds 2023 Opening Day starter when the Pittsburhg Pirates come to town on March 30th.

Nick Lodolo making his case to be the Reds 2023 Opening Day starter.

Nick Lodolo has now started two games this spring and the left-hander has looked quite impressive thus far. After pitching three innings of two-hit, no-run baseball against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, Lodolo has now gone five innings without allowing a run and has struck out six batters.

Even more important that the stat sheet has been Lodolo's confidence in his changeup. Though he predominantly relied on his fastball/ curveball combination in 2022, Lodolo mixed in an offspeed pitch about 10-percent of the time according to Baseball Savant.

If Lodolo is able to mix in his changeup with even more frequency in 2023, the left-hander may evolves into the ace of the Cincinnati Reds staff.

Greene and Lodolo are essentially 1 and 1A, and some would even argue that Graham Ashcraft should be in that mix as well. While the final two spots in the Reds rotation are up for grabs this spring, that trio has already locked up their roles heading into the upcoming season.

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell has yet to name a starter for the team's opener against the Pirates, but it's a good bet that it'll come down to either Hunter Greene or Nick Lodolo. Regardless of who gets the ball for Game 1 of 162, both pitchers will be leaned upon early and often in 2023.

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