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Cincinnati Reds tab Luis Castillo as Opening Day starter

The ace gets the ace treatment atop the rotation.

Pittsburgh Pirates v. Cincinnati Reds Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images

With Trevor Bauer gone to the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency and Sonny Gray sidelined temporarily with a balky back, the writing was on the wall for Luis Castillo to return to an Opening Day mound as starter for the Cincinnati Reds. All that remained was him showing enough at camp in Goodyear after a bit of a late start to camp, and it appears he’s done plenty of that.

On Friday evening, the Reds announced that Castillo will indeed get that nod.

Castillo started Opening Day for the Reds back in 2019 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will get the chance to do so again against the St. Louis Cardinals this year. Of course, that 2019 start went plenty well - 5.2 IP of 1 ER ball - and the hope is he can replicate that for the slightly dinged-up Reds staff here in just over a week.

(I should add that the first paragraph of this post implied that maybe, just maybe, Castillo was third in the pecking order among last season’s trio. That’s far from the case, though, despite the relative brilliance of his two peers from 2020. Castillo more than warranted consideration for the OD nod even if Bauer had somehow stuck around and Gray was 100%, his 148 ERA+ and devastating arsenal one of the toasts of the game.)

Congrats to Luis, and here’s to the Reds starting the 2021 season better than they’ve started, I dunno, almost every other season recently.