Reds look to dull the Rays' shine as Tyler Stephenson is set to return to GABP this weekend

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson. / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Rays

Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo vs. Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan

Today's La Piedra Day as Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo (3-4 3.09 ERA) battles Shane McClanahan (9-3 1.74 ERA) of the Tampa Bay Rays. How good has Castillo been over his last seven starts? Very good.

Tossing 43.1 innings over that timespan, Castillo has compiled an excellent 2.49 ERA and has only been taken deep three times. Additionally, he's held opponents to one earned run or less in four of those seven outings while recording 48 K's. That will do La Piedra. That will do.

It's safe to say, Shane McClanahan may be the best pitcher Reds Country has never heard of. The 25-year-old southpaw leads the American League in ERA (1.74), strikeouts (133), ERA+ (204), WHIP (0.81), hits per nine innings (5.8), and K/BB rate (7.82). So yeah, he's good.

Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene vs. Rays starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen

Reds rookie Hunter Greene (3-10 6.01 ERA) toes the rubber Saturday afternoon squaring off against Drew Rasmussen (5-3 3.30 ERA) for Kevin Cash's club. It's been tough sledding of late for the Reds' 22-year-old right-hander.

Over his last four starts, Greene has been torched for 19 runs in 19.1 innings. In addition, the gopher ball has been crippling the LA native's starts. He's surrendered seven round-trippers over those four outings.

Don't be surprised if the Rays go to the bullpen early in Drew Rasmussen's start. The fellow right-hander has completed six frames in only two of his 13 appearances. Next, don't look for the 26-year-old Oregon State alum to miss many bats. Rasmussen has fanned just 51 in 62.2 frames this season.

Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo vs. Rays starting pitcher Shane Baz

Sunday afternoon's series finale will feature Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo (1-2 4.19 ERA) opposing Shane Baz (1-1 2.92 ERA) of Tampa Bay. How good was Lodolo in his first start since April 24th due to a two-month spell on the IL due to a back injury? To quote Larry David, "pretty, pretty, pretty good."

Working 4.2 shutout innings versus a dangerous New York Mets lineup, the rookie southpaw fanned eight while allowing three hits in an 89-pitch performance. Look for another high strikeout outing from Lodolo on Sunday against the free-swinging Rays. The 24-year-old lefty has whiffed at least seven in his last three starts.

Fellow rookie Shane Baz has been equally as impressive in his last four starts. Tossing 22.1 innings, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed just three runs on 16 hits while surrendering only one home run. A former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, he's abusing left-handed hitters holding them to a ridiculously anemic .167/.268/.278 slash line.