Reds vs. Braves: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ozzie Albies #1 steals second base in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ozzie Albies #1 steals second base in the second inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning.
SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 19: Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs Braves

We don’t yet know who’ll get the start in any of the upcoming games for the Atlanta Braves, but the Cincinnati Reds rotation is set. After Wade Miley got his team back on track during the series finale in Minnesota, David Bell will send the usual suspects to the mound for Cincinnati.

First up will be rookie right-hander Tony Santillan. The hulking Texan is looking to go a bit further on Thursday night than he did during his last appearance. In a desperate attempt to put some runs on the board, Santillan was lifted in favor of a pinch hitter in the top of the fourth inning against the Padres. This limited Santillan to just three inning, allowed three runs and struck out three.

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There’s a chance that this could be Santillan’s last chance to make an impression, as Sonny Gray may return as early as next week. The two-time All-Star is making a rehab start tonight in Louisville, which would put Gray on track to start next Tuesday versus the San Diego Padres.

Going on Friday night will be fellow rookie hurler Vladimir Gutierrez (3-1, 3.86 ERA). The right-hander will be looking for redemption following his previous start in which he surrendered five runs on eight hits, but managed to work his way out of some very tough spots. Gutierrez will need to cut down on the free passes, however, as the 25-year-old walked four batter last week in San Diego.

Luis Castillo (2-10, 5.61 ERA) takes the ball on Saturday for the Redlegs. The last time Castillo saw the Braves it was in the Wild Card round of the 2020 MLB Playoffs. Castillo took the loss that day, but pitched very well with seven punch outs through 5.1 innings. Hopefully, La Piedra will have the same stuff working on Saturday versus Atlanta.

Sunday’s series finale will see the Cincinnati Reds’ top pitcher head to the hill, as Tyler Mahle (7-2, 3.56 ERA) draws the start. Mahle has 98 strike outs this season through just 15 games. It looks as if the right-hander will shatter his previous career-high (129) set in 2019 if he remains healthy for the rest of the season.