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Cincinnati Reds, Luis Castillo fend of Houston Astros 3-2 in rain soaked opener

Any win over a team that good will do!

Houston Astros v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

Not a single team in baseball entered play on Monday with more 2019 victories under their belt than the 48 logged by the Houston Astros. Sure, they’re currently sans Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa, but this is absolutely still a powerhouse franchise playing good baseball, and shutting down their offense is still a feat of pertinence.

That’s what Luis Castillo did through 6 IP, as he allowed just 2 hits and nary a run while striking out 7, even eschewing a brief rain delay to again show his dominance. Unfortunately, that dominance didn’t carry into the Top of the 7th, which saw him exit after walking the first two batters of that inning without recording an out.

Both runners scored, naturally, which meant his final line - 6+ IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 7 K on 102 pitches - looks a bit more blemished, with the spotlight obviously on his career high in walks allowed. Don’t let that fool you, though, as the budding ace we’ve largely seen so far this season was absolutely on display through the first 2/3rd of the scheduled innings tonight, and that’s the absolute takeaway here.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Kyle Farmer, who singled, walked, was hit by a pitch, scored a run, and made a super-nifty double play with the bases loaded that saved at least 2 runs; Nick Senzel, who popped a huge 2-run single; Joey Votto, who walked twice; and Jose Peraza, who had a pair of hits.

Key Plays

  • Houston Astros starter Wade Miley largely breezed into the Bottom of the 5th prior to looking at all vulnerable, but the Reds took advantage when he did. Curt Casali led off with a single into RF against the shift, and he moved up a bag on Farmer’s walk. Castillo then laid down a bunt to put a pair of runners in scoring position, and score they then did on Senzel’s single up the middle. Miley then walked Votto to put Senzel in scoring position, and that paid off in spades when Eugenio Suarez hit a soft grounder for a single - again, against the shift - that dribbled into RF, and the Reds led, 3-0.
  • Castillo managed to reach 100 pitches by coming out again for the Top of the 7th, but in hindsight that might not have been the best idea. He walked both Robinson Chirinos and Tyler White without recording an out, forcing David Bell to yank him in favor of David Hernandez. Hernandez fanned Tony Kemp and then induced what could’ve been an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play against Jake Marisnick, but Jose Peraza’s relay throw went well wide of Joey Votto at 1B and Chirinos came around to score. Hernandez then walked Alex Bregman to prompt a Bell yanking, with Amir Garrett coming on to face the lefty Michael Brantley, who hit a laser on the first pitch he saw into the RF corner to score another, and the Reds lead had shrunk to 3-2. That, fortunately, is how things finished!

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Because it is June in Cincinnati, this game hit a rain delay midway through the 3rd inning. Fortunately, it wasn’t long enough to derail the starts of either Castillo or Wade Miley, as both returned to the mound after the break.
  • Fueled largely by Castillo, Reds pitchers walked 9 Astros on the evening. Gross.
  • As for some intrigue, finally, with this Reds club, David Bell replaced Raisel Iglesias with Michael Lorenzen after Iglesias walked a batter with 1-out in the Top of the 9th. Whether it was due to something mechanical that he saw or if it’s an indication that Iggy’s status as ‘closer’ is up in the air, we do not yet know.
  • Tuesday will pit the Reds against Houston ace Justin Verlander, as he’ll toe the rubber opposite Reds scheduled starter Anthony DeSclafani. First pitch is again set for 7:10 PM ET.
  • Tunes.