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Nick Castellanos’ offense, defense on full display in Reds 4-3 win over Detroit Tigers

What a roller coaster afternoon in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

Cincinnati Reds v Detroit Tigers - Game One Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Stars of the Game

We’ve got a pair to celebrate here, in this abbreviated recap of an abbreviated game that’s part of an elongated day of doubleheader Cincinnati Reds baseball.

Nick Castellanos continued his torrid offensive start to the season, bonking a pair of dingers against his former Detroit Tigers club. His 11 ribbies are now tied with Dansby Swanson for the most in the NL, and he’s now hit safely in each of the 8 games he’s played for the Reds this year.

(Just don’t ask about his defense.)

Also impressive today was starter Anthony DeSclafani, who was making his season debut after missing one start thanks to a tight shoulder. He allowed only 3 hits in his 5 IP, with nary a scratch on the scoreboard at his expense. He struck out 2, issued no walks, and had his fastball moving all over the place (in a good way) in his 64 pitch outing.

A hat-tip is also due to Shogo Akiyama, whose bit RBI single late in the game pointed this one the way of the Reds.

Key Plays

  • The game began with a Rony Garcia walk of Shogo, and that haunted the Tigers starter immediately when Castellanos bombed a 2-run dong over the wall in left-center, the deepest part of Comerica Park. Reds led immediately, 2-0.
  • It was again Castellanos off Garcia in the Top of the 3rd, this time with a blast over the wall in right-center for a one run, and it both chased the Tigers starter and put the Reds ahead, 3-0.
  • Fast-forward to the Bottom of the 6th, with Lucas Sims on the bump and 2 quick outs in the book. Things looked good - great, even! Unfortunately, a single, walk, and HBP loaded the bases, and while David Bell had earlier in the season opted to put a defensive replacement in RF for Castellanos, the Reds big bopper was still in this one late. That burned thorougly when Victor Reyes lifted a deep fly ball into right-center that Castellanos just flat dropped. Since it was with 2-outs, every baserunner was moving, and all scored to tie the game. After some nervy balk/no-balk drama, Raisel Iglesias got the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. Game tied, 3-3.
  • The Reds pounced on the Tigers in the Top of the 7th, however. Freddy Galvis bonked a leadoff double off reliever Joe Jimenez, and later scored after back to back singles by Tucker Barnhart and Shogo. That put the Reds ahead 4-3, and fortunately Raisel put that on ice.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Prior to the start of this one - which was delayed by rain yet again - the Reds made a lineup change. That was due to Joey Votto being scratched and placed on the Injured List after exhibiting COVID symptoms. Ugh. He has not yet tested positive at the time of publish, though we’ll obviously be watching that closely. Get well soon, Joe Dan.
  • This was a 7 inning game, per the new MLB rule for the 2020 season that, thanks to umpteen postponements for various reasons already, will see ample doubleheaders this year. The second game between these two will be only 7, too.
  • Tigers reliever Tyler Alexander faced 9 batters in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, and struck out all of them. Every single one. That’s a K shy of the MLB record period, but is a record for an MLB reliever. He continued pitching in the 6th, but the streak mercifully ended, although that came when he plunked Mike Moustakas on the left forearm (which caused Moose to exit the game, dammit).
  • Speaking of which, Trevor Bauer will start said game for the Reds when they get back on the field here shortly. He’ll be opposed by Tigers starter Daniel Norris.
  • Tunes.