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Joey Votto homers, but Reds can’t back Luis Castillo in 4-1 loss to Cardinals

Wildness on the mound paired with silent bats is never good.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
Joey dreaming of 2018, I presume.
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Joey Votto has continued to kick his early second half cold streak into distant memory, on Saturday doing so with a solo homer and a pair of walks. While the Cincinnati Reds 1B sure wasn’t seeing the ball great when they were last in GABP for their 10 game homestand, something certainly began to click when they hit the road, and he has brought that back to his home stadium with a vengeance.

His 1st inning clubber proved to be the lone run for the good guys on the game, and on a night in which the entire lineup provided just 4 hits, he was the lone Red to reach base more than once.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Blake Wood, who fanned 4 in his 2 scoreless innings of relief; and Adam Duvall, who tripled.

Key Plays

  • Votto turned a rolling Lance Lynn breaking ball into an early lead for the Reds in the Bottom of the 1st, cranking a 2-out solo homer well into the RF seats for the 249th big fly of his career. Reds led, 1-0.
  • Luis Castillo’s control had been troubling him throughout, but his defense and strikeout ability had bailed him out in the first pair of innings. However, his 4th walk came back to bite him, as after he walked Matt Carpenter to open the Top of the 3rd (and Tommy Pham reached 1B a batter later on a fielder’s choice), Paul DeJong cracked a 2-run dinger into the seats into LF to put St. Louis ahead, 2-1.
  • Castillo exited with runners on 1B & 2B in the Top of the 7th after crossing the 100 pitch mark, and Kevin Shackleford took over on the mound with 1-out. That didn’t exactly work out, however, as Shack promptly walked Carpenter to load the bases and saw Kolten Wong score after Eugenio Suarez made a diving stab while pulled in at 3B only to throw home and have Devin Mesoraco not be able to dig the throw (from Suarez’s knees) out of the dirt. That left the bases loaded, which again proved to be a pain when Mes booted an otherwise nondescript pitch, his passed ball kicking away far enough for Luke Volt to score, too. Reds trailed, 4-1.
  • Unfortunately, that’s where the scoring stopped, and the Reds fell by that very 4-1 score.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Luis Castillo struggled with control throughout the game, walking 4 and hitting another 2 batters on the evening. However, he was also largely unhittable when around the zone, allowing just 3 hits in his 6.1 IP. He exited having allowed just 2 ER - both on the DeJong HR - but had a pair of runners on base when departing, both of whom scored.
  • Speaking of which, it was rather interesting to see Kevin Shackleford get the call in that particular situation when Castillo exited, since theoretically all the other pitchers in the bullpen would’ve been preferable in that spot. Of course, they’ve all thrown a lot lately, so perhaps it was a case of unavailability in a 2-1 game; but if that was the case, I wonder why Castillo was pulled at 102 pitches in the first place. He’s logged 107, 111, 113, and 106 already in starts with the Reds this year.
  • Eh. Those last two Other Notes become pretty moot when the only offense on the day is a solo donk by Votto in the 1st inning.
  • The series finale between the Reds and Filthy Cards will take place Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:10 PM ET. It will feature longtime foes Adam Wainwright and Homer Bailey on the mound, so in case you were frozen in a time capsule in 2008 and just woke up, rest assured it’s actually 2017.
  • Tunes.