Cincinnati Reds: Recent history on Luis Castillo’s side in Game 2

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Luis Castillo will start for the Reds in Game 2.

The Cincinnati Reds lost Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series to the Atlanta Braves in agonizing fashion. The Cincinnati bats spoiled a brilliant performance from starter Trevor Bauer and lost in extra innings 1-0. Luis Castillo takes the hill today in Game 2, and the right-hander’s recent history against Atlanta should give the Reds hope.

Sports is a business that often asks the question, “What have you done for me lately?” Well, all Luis Castillo has done lately is win. Now, La Piedra did lose his last outing on September 26th against the Minnesota Twins, but before that, Castillo was rolling to the tune of four consecutive wins and a 1.26 ERA over 28.2 innings.

Castillo’s last outing against the Twins wasn’t awful. Castillo went just four innings, struck out four while not allowing a walk. He did give up four earned runs, but with Cincinnati coming off the high of clinching a playoff berth and Minnesota fighting for the AL Central title, I’m willing to give La Piedra a pass for his last start.

But today’s game will certainly test the mettle of Luis Castillo. He seems to be the lost starter among the Reds three-headed monster that also includes Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray. Bauer dominated in Game 1 and is the likely winner of the NL Cy Young Award. Gray was Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter, and before a back injury, he was in the conversation for the Cy Young Award as well.

Castillo’s slow start (0-2 with a 4.67 ERA through three games) gave some fans, including us, cause to pause. Was Luis Castillo really as good as we thought he was? It turns out the answer was yes. Castillo got his groove back, and outside of a little blip on the radar during a start against the Kansas City Royals, the 27-year-old dominated his next eight starts.

Over those eight games, Castillo went 4-3 with a 2.20 ERA, struck out 59 batters and allowed just four round-trippers. The three losses were in no part due to Castillo’s performance, but rather lack of run support. In those three games, the Reds collected a total of three runs. Sound familiar?

Heading into today’s Wild Card Game versus the Braves, Luis Castillo has to feel pretty good. The right-hander has had pretty good success against this Braves lineup in the past. Last season, only Dansby Swanson recorded an extra-base hit off Castillo. Freddie Freeman went 2-for-3, but both were singles.

Marcell Ozuna, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI in his matchups with Luis Castillo. If Castillo can handle the heart of the Braves batting order in a similar fashion to 2019, then Cincinnati has a good chance to come out of Atlanta with thee series knotted at one game apiece going into Friday’s finale.

Next. 3 takeaways from Reds loss to Braves

While some fans will say that the Reds bats have to wake up, it’s not like Cincinnati was stone cold versus the Braves pitchers yesterday. However, they failed to come up with the clutch hit when it was needed. Atlanta will send rookie Ian Anderson to the hill today. The Reds left-handed power bats must break through in a big way.