Cincinnati Reds: Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani are here to stay

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 1: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 1, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 1: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 1, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo pitched a gem last night. He’s proved this season, along with Anthony DeSclafani, that he can be a fixture for the Cincinnati Reds rotation for years to come.

Last night gave Cincinnati Reds a glimmer of hope as we head into the homestretch of the 2018 season. No, another year of the rebuild was not what fans were hoping for, but Luis Castillo‘s performance showed the Reds faithful that there are brighter days ahead. Castillo, along with Anthony DeSclafani will be key pieces for the Reds rotation in 2019 and beyond.

The Reds have scored more than enough runs this season to be competitive. Cincinnati ranks third in the National League in hitting and fifth in runs scored. The offense is not the problem in the Queen City, it’s the pitching.

The Reds have allowed the most hits (1009) in the NL, and the most runs (562). Cincinnati tops the Major Leagues with 160 home runs allowed. They are sixth in the National League in walks (379) and have fewer strikeouts (835) than any team in the NL.

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Most of those dreadful statistics can be lumped onto the starting rotation. Jim Riggleman has used a quick hook multiple times this season with his young stable of starting pitchers, due most likely to the fact that the Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen isn’t too bad.

Jared Hughes, Michael Lorenzen, Raisel Iglesias, and Amir Garrett all rank in the Top 25 of the NL rankings of innings pitched this season. No other team in that group has more than three relievers. The Reds bullpen has been taxed all season.

However, there have been two players in the Reds starting rotation this season that have excelled, and they will be a big part of the Reds going forward. Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani have been the bright spots on an otherwise dim-looking starting rotation.

Castillo went out last night and dominated the St. Louis Cardinals on the road. The Cards have been dominant lately and thrust themselves into contention for a playoff spot. Castillo slowed the Redbirds’ momentum a bit last night, going 6.2 innings, allowing only 2 hits, and fanning a career-high 11 batters.

After his most recent struggle against the Chicago Cubs, it was nice to see Castillo get back on track. Castillo only went 3.1 innings against the Cubbies at Wrigley last week. He allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, 2 of which left the yard. His start the previous week against San Francisco mimicked that of last night’s performance. Against the Giants, Castillo went 6.2 allowing only 1 earned run and struck out 9.

The Reds are 1 game above .500 when Castillo takes the hill with a record of 14-13. Castillo’s biggest problem this season has been the home run. The Reds are 1-6 in games in which Castillo gives up more than one home run.

The other member of the pitching staff that has excelled this season is Anthony DeSclafani. Disco came back this season after injuries took him away from the game for almost two years. He’s returned to form this year. He’s 7-4 this season with a 4.34 ERA.

The Reds are 9-6 when Disco toes the rubber. The month of August was very kind to DeSclafani. In 5 games, he had an ERA of 2.62 and struck out 27 batters against only 4 walks. DeSclafani was dealing last month.

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Cincinnati is 23-19 (.548) when either Castillo or DeSclafani are on the mound for the Reds. In what amounts to a lost season, it’s good to see a glimmer of hope from two players who look the part. Both La Piedra and Disco look to be key pieces to the Cincinnati Reds rotation in 2019 and beyond.