LOS ANGELES -- John Lamb certainly had more than enough reason to feel pressure when he took the mound on Friday night vs. the Dodgers. Not only was it his Major League debut for the Reds, Lamb is a local kid from nearby Laguna Hills, Calif., and he was the first of the three prospects acquired from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade to pitch for their new club.
Add it all up, and it still didn't seem to bother Lamb a bit.
"I'd definitely say I thrived on it," said Lamb, the eighth rookie starter to pitch this season, which tied a club record. "It was an exciting moment. I felt anxious to get out there. I felt comfortable."
Missing from the night was a win. A four-run fifth inning that included Adrian Gonzalez's three-run home run sent the Reds to a 5-3 defeat.
"I attacked it with Brayan [Pena, the catcher] and I just happened to get beat there. It is what it is," Lamb said. "I know I made a few other mistakes there, but generally I just went out there and told myself I was going to leave it all out there on the field and attack and challenge him. I thought I did a pretty good job of that, but obviously that home run hurt the overall outing."
Lamb finished with five earned runs and eight hits allowed over six innings. He walked two and struck out seven. He gave up two hits and a sacrifice fly in the first inning but retired 11 of 14 before things got away in the fifth. With two outs came four straight hits and four runs -- including a 1-0 fastball that missed over the plate for the Gonzalez homer down the right field line.
Manager Bryan Price was not only pleased with Lamb's wide variety of pitches, he liked how the 25-year-old dealt with the night.
"I thought he was extremely composed," Price said. "It's a difficult environment in which to pitch in for a debut back here at home in Dodger Stadium. I thought he handled it really well."
Lamb's late grandfather, John Ramsey, was a longtime public address announcer at Dodger Stadium. That was a fact brought up by legendary play-by-play voice Vin Scully on the videoboard, which Lamb heard before the game as he walked to the dugout from the bullpen.
"Taking it in, I'm trying to embrace it," Lamb said. "I did hear Vin talking a little about myself and I heard him bring up John, my grandfather. I never had the chance to meet [Ramsey], but it was definitely neat to hear Vin Scully and see him up on the JumboTron talking about not only myself, but also my grandpa. It was neat. It was a surreal moment. I felt like I was dreaming in a way."
Unfortunately for Lamb, he didn't get the perfect ending.
"It was a good learning experience," he said. "I can only hope to get the ball again and get a chance to go out and compete. It was a fun night, but that one pitch [to Gonzalez], I wish I could get it back."