The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
We knew prior to Wednesday’s start that Cincinnati Reds rookie Luis Castillo would be making his final start of the season. Manager Bryan Price confirmed as much on Tuesday when a fleet of other pitchers were recalled from AAA Louisville.
Castillo could’t tossed a complete clunker against the Milwaukee Brewers in his matinee finale and still would’ve exited the season with his head held confidently high. Instead, he fired one of his absolute best outings of the season, making complete mincemeat of a club firmly in the mix for a spot in the NL playoffs.
The fireballing righty fanned 10, walked none, allowed just 4 hits, and pitched 8 incredibly impressive 1 ER innings, never once looking out of control in his 111 pitch outing. The lone run he allowed came on a solo homer to the second batter he faced, and he settled in immediately afterwards. The effort lowered his season ERA to just 3.12, and honestly, it’s hard not to wonder if he’s now in-line to start on Opening Day of the 2018 season.
Congrats on a heckuva start and an enviable rookie season, Luis. Big, big things are on the horizon.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Zack Cozart, who homered, singled, and scored twice; Eugenio Suarez, who singled, doubled, played more awesome 3B defense, and scored a run; Adam Duvall, who had a pair of hits, scored, and drove in a run; Phillip Ervin, who singled and swiped his first career MLB bag; and Jose Peraza, who homered, stole his 20th bag of the season, scored twice, and drove in a pair.
- Castillo got a trio of Ks in the Top of the 1st. Unfortunately, they were worked in around a solo homer off the bat of Neil Walker, which left the Reds behind early, 1-0.
- A trio of 1-out singles off Matt Garza got the Reds started in the Bottom of the 3rd. Cozart and Votto ended up on 1B and 2B after their singles through the right side of the infield, and Cozart came around to score on an RBI single into short LF by Duvall. Suarez later loaded the bags with a single up the middle that Garza deflected, which meant that Scott Schebler’s walk drove in a later run, too. Jose Peraza then hit a soft grounder to SS that looked like a potential inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, but the relay (which Peraza had beaten) kicked off Walker’s glove at 1B to allow both Duvall and Suarez to come in to score (and end Garza’s day). Lefty Brent Suter took over on the mound to force Tucker Barnhart to switch to his lighter-hitting right-hand side, but Tuck foiled that with an RBI single of his own, and the Reds had a 5-1 lead.
- Jeremy Jeffress came out for a 3rd inning of work for the Bottom of the 7th (to the surprise of the Milwaukee TV crew, no less), and Cozart promptly greeted him with a leadoff blast into the seats in left-center to put the Reds ahead 6-1.
- Peraza’s blast came off Brewers’ closer Corey Knebel in the Bottom of the 8th, as he turned around an inside fastball for a solo blast off the 2nd deck facade to put Cincinnati up 7-1.
- After that, Kevin Shackelford navigated the Top of the 9th to wrap things, and the Reds took home the game (and the series sweep) with a 7-1 dubya.
- Billy Hamilton appeared to take a fastball off his left thumb when attempting to bunt in his first PA of the day. Turns out that was his only PA of the day, as Ervin replaced him the next time his spot in the lineup came up.
- Never bunt.
- The Reds will head to New York later this evening, and on Thursday they’ll begin a 3 game series against the Mets. Tyler Mahle will get another start for Cincinnati, and he’ll be opposed on the mound by Matt Harvey. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.