Look, the Washington Nationals are good. Really, really good. Their lineup is as deep and well-rounded as any in the game, featuring an enviable combination of power, speed, youth, and a deep bench.
Luis Castillo ran into that with full force on Saturday, as the Nats touched him up for 6 ER in just 5 IP, with Adam Eaton running roughshod around the bases and both Matt Adams and Trea Turner launching homers alongside him. Castillo’s velocity was still as excellent as we’ve come to expect, and his changeup was again an effective swing-and-miss pitch, but he struggled to locate his pitches for most of the day - and that bit him consistently.
Castillo’s final line - 5 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, BB, 6 K on 85 pitches - paired with a solid enough outing by Nats starter Stephen Strasburg would’ve been enough to spell out the loss for the Cincinnati Reds on the day. Of course, that the bullpen took over and allowed another 7 runs certainly was a contributing factor,as the Reds at least began to show a bit of offensive life late in the game.
It’s 100% frustrating to see the club begin the season 0-2, of course, but given what the Nats bring to the table offensively and the 1-2 punch of Max Scherzer and Strasburg, it’s hard to say it’s surprising. That’s why they play 162 of these every year, y’know.
The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jesse Winker had a pair of singles, walked, scored a run, and made a pretty nifty catch on a foul ball against the wall in RF. I think we’re going to get the chance to see a lot of those kind of days from Jesse, and that’s something we should all be excited about. Especially on days like this one when the Reds get trounced.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Scott Schebler, who hit a dinger and doubled: Eugenio Suarez, who went 2 for 5 with a dinger and 2 runs scored; and Adam Duvall, who dingered and drove in 3.
- Eaton singled, Anthony Rendon walked, and after Bryce Harper grounded into a force-play that nailed Rendon at 2B, Adams clobbered a 460 foot dinger way, way, way, way, way the hell, way way way over the wall in right-center. Reds trailed, 3-0.
- Eaton hit a deep fly ball to straightaway CF in the Top of the 3rd. Billy Hamilton, it’s worth noting, was in the dugout instead of CF, and the ball went over Schebler’s glove for a ground-rule double. Hmm. Rendon then singled to put runners at the corners, and a Harper sac-fly put the Reds behind 4-0. Defense matters too, folks.
- Turner hit a ball a billion feet in the Top of the 4th. You could physically see the second-deck facade wince as the ball made contact with it. Reds trailed, 5-0.
- Schebler, to his credit, got a run back for the Reds, as his solo shot in the Bottom of the 4th got the Reds on the board for the first time this season. It was a bit of a RF wall-scraper, but whatever - it’ll do. Reds trailed, 5-1.
- Eaton and Harper combined (again) for a run in the Top of the 5th, as Eaton led off with a double, tagged and took 3B on a foul-out down the RF line, and scored on Harper’s sac fly to the LF warning track. Reds trailed, 6-1.
- Winker dumped a single into shallow CF to begin the Bottom of the 6th, and he was fortunate to end up at 2B when Turner booted a grounder by Suarez. A walk to Votto later and the bases were loaded, as they were again (with a run scoring) after Gennett’s RBI single into LF. Adam Duvall then poked a deep sac-fly into CF to score Suarez, and the Reds trailed just 6-3.
- If you blinked, you missed the Nats scoring another run, this time as Eaton opened the Top of the 7th with his 4th hit of the day, a solo shot by Eaton off Austin Brice into the RF seats. Reds trailed, 7-3.
- The Reds loaded the bases with the heart of their order due up in the Bottom of the 7th, and scored no runs. The Nats loaded the bases against Jackson Stephens after he got the first two outs of the inning, and they scored 2-runs on an Eaton single. Reds trailed, 9-3.
- Duvall’s honker came after Schebler’s double in the Bottom of the 8th, a 2-run blast to straightaway CF off lefty
MarkMatt Grace that actually hit off the edge of Michael A. Taylor’s glove before clearing the fence. Reds trailed, 9-5.
- Kevin Quackenbush put a trio of Nats on base in the Top of the 9th, which proved to be a bad idea when he served a meatball right over the plate to Brian Goodwin. Goodwin, you might have guessed, clobbered it over the CF wall for a grand slam. That left the Reds behind 13-5.
- Winker walked, which put a runner on base for Suarez against lefty Enny Romero in the Bottom of the 9th, and Suarez did what Suarez does against LHP - maul them. He cracked a 2-run blast over the LF wall, but that’s all the Reds offense could muster. Reds lost, 13-7.
- Yovani Gallardo is now officially a Red, as the club signed him to a 1-year MLB deal earlier on Saturday. From the sound of it, Gallardo will be used in long relief, at least that’s what manager Bryan Price intimated to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.
- Sal Romano will get his first start of the season on Sunday, where he’ll be opposed by Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. First pitch in the final game of the series is set for 4:10 PM ET instead of the the usual Sunday 1:10 PM ET start, so plan accordingly.