Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Pirates
Tonight’s opener finds Luis Castillo (8-16 4.05 ERA) making his final start of the season opposing Wil Crowe (4-8 5.77 ERA) of the Pirates. It hasn’t been the year that La Piedra or Reds Country envisioned for the right-hander, but he’s closing on a solid note.
Castillo has compiled a 2.62 ERA over his last seven starts while fanning 49 in 44.2 innings. If La Piedra can toss a complete game this evening, he will eclipse his career-high of 190.2 innings in a season. Not too shabby for a guy who was sporting an ERA north of six in the middle of June.
It’s been tough sledding of late for the Bucs’ Wil Crowe. Over his last seven appearances, Crowe’s been rocked for 40 hits and issued 15 free passes in just 30.1 frames. As a result, the 7.12 ERA over that span should come as no surprise. Unfortunately, the right-hander didn’t fare much better, allowing eight hits and walking two in four innings in a loss to the Reds in August.
Tyler Mahle (13-6 3.54 ERA) toes the rubber Saturday night, battling Pittsburgh’s Max Kranick (2-3 6.23 ERA). To state the obvious, 2021 has been a breakout year for the Cincinnati right-hander.
Establishing career-best marks in nearly every category, Mahle is finishing the season pitching perhaps his best baseball of the season. The 26-year-old California native has held the opposition to three runs or less in six of his last seven outings and has only surrendered four gopher balls in his previous 40 innings.
Right-hander Max Kranick is coming off an excellent start versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Tossing five innings of shutout baseball, the 23-year-old rookie earned his victory since June 27th. This will be his first career start against Cincinnati.
Sunday’s season finale will feature Reiver Sanmartin (1-0 1.59 ERA) making his second start for the Redlegs. Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton has yet to name a starter for the Sunday matinee contest.
It’s tough to be much better than Sanmartin in his major league debut. The left-hander surrendered just one run in 5.2 frames versus the Pirates on Monday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. Another strong showing Sunday would be a huge confidence boost for the 25-year-old southpaw heading into the 2022 campaign.