Joey Votto returns to the lineup, and his hometown, as the red-hot Reds battle the Blue Jays

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto gives a press conference.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto gives a press conference. / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Blue Jays

Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo vs. Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu

It's La Piedra Day as Luis Castillo (0-1 5.59 ERA) squares off against Toronto's Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0 9.00 ERA) in tonight's opener. Making his third start of the season, Castillo is still looking for the elusive first victory of his 2022 campaign.

In his previous two appearances this year, Castillo has been victimized by extra-base hits. Even though he's only yielded seven hits in 9,2 innings, three, a double and two round-trippers, have gone for extra bases. This will be the right-hander's first career start against the Blue Jays.

Former Dodger Hyun Jin Ryu and the Reds are no strangers to one another. The southpaw is 2-2 with a 4.33 ERA in five starts versus the Redlegs since the 2014 campaign. Gopher balls have been an issue for the South Korean to open the season. Ryu has been taken deep three times in a dozen frames.

Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene vs Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah

Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene (1-6 6.21 ERA) opposes Alek Manoah (4-1 1.71 ERA) Saturday afternoon for Charlie Montoyo's club. You couldn't be much better than Greene was in his last outing.

Tossing a career-high 118 pitches in holding the Pittsburgh Pirates hitless for 7.1 innings, Greene was the hard-luck loser in a 1-0 defeat. There are signs the fireballing right-hander is learning from his early-season struggles. The Los Angeles native has surrendered just one home run in his last 12.2 frames after being rocked for 10 homers in his first 20.2 innings.

What more can you say about Alek Manoah? The 24-year-old right-hander has not allowed more than two earned runs in any start this season. In his first 27 career starts, the West Virginia alum is an incredible 13-3 with a sparkling 2.81 ERA.

Reds starting pitcher Connor Overton vs. Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi

Sunday's matinee series finale will feature Connor Overton (1-0 1.82 ERA) battling Yusei Kikuchi (2-1 3.38 ERA) for the Blue Jays. I feel confident saying, Connor Overton has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise for the Cincinnati Reds this season.

Since making his Reds debut on April 30th, the right-hander has allowed just 15 hits and five runs in 24.2 innings of work. Additionally, his last outing was his most impressive. Tossing 7.2 frames against the Guardians on Tuesday, the 28-year-old limited Cleveland to a paltry two hits.

Southpaw Yusei Kikuchi was equally as brilliant in his last start. Hurling six innings of shutout baseball, the former Seattle Mariner held his former teammates to only one hit. In addition, the Japanese import has surrendered just three runs over his last 17.1 frames and compiled 20 K's.