The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
The Luis Castillo we saw pitch for the Cincinnati Reds tonight is the Luis Castillo I think we, the front office, and everyone in baseball thought they’d see on the regular during the 2021 season.
In a series where the Reds must make strides, Castillo shut down the St. Louis Cardinals in his 6.0 IP, limiting them to just 3 H and a lone ER, fanning 5 and allowing just a lone walk in his 95 pitch outing. It’s precisely what we’ve been hoping for, and while I’m usually loathe to point to catcher ERA as a ‘thing,’ it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to notice how much better he has pitched with Curt Casali and Tyler Stephenson behind the plate since the start of the 2020 season.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Jonathan India, who swatted a 2-run dinger, walked twice, singled, and made a number of rangy defensive plays at 2B; Stephenson, who socked a solo homer, bashed a ribbie single, and walked; and Nick Castellanos, who singled and doubled to extend his hit streak to 20 games.
- The middle of the Reds order was stacked with righties tonight against lefty Kwang Hyun Kim, and even though they weren’t the most proven bunch, they tagged him the first chance they got to see him. Stephenson socked a homer over the LF wall to open the Top of the 2nd, while India later swatted a 2-run bomb off Kim in that inning, too. Reds led, 3-0.
- Edmundo Sosa finally got the Cardinals on the board against Castillo in the Bottom of the 5th, and much like with the Reds early runs, it came from an unlikely source. Edmundo Sosa tatered off Luis for his first career dinger, a solo shot that left the Reds with a 3-1 lead.
- No matter, Castillo got that run back himself in the Top of the 6th. After India coaxed a walk to reach base for the third time on the evening, Castillo socked a double off the wall in the deepest part of CF, good enough for the ribbie and to give Cincinnati a 4-1 lead.
- Cincinnati played add-on in the Top of the 9th, as Jesse Winker singled and scored after the double by Castellanos and the ribbie single from Stephenson. Nick then scooted home on a productive groundout from Shogo Akiyama, and the Reds held a 6-1 lead.
- St. Louis mustered another
run pair of runstrio of runs in the Bottom of the 9th off what was left of the Cincinnati bullpen, but still walked away with a 6-4 victory. Woo!
- Batters 4-9 in tonight’s Reds lineup had just 26 career dingers to their name prior to first pit, with Kyle Farmer’s 13 accounting for half of them. Fortunately, that number went up.
- Kim unfortunately exited prematurely in the Top of the 3rd with what was reported to be lower back tightness.
- The Reds will have a chance to win the dang series on Saturday, and will send Tyler Mahle to the bump to try to accomplish that feat. The Cardinals have not yet listed their starter, in part because on top of Kim’s injury tonight, they’ve lost Jack Flaherty and Mile Mikolas to injuries of late, too. First pitch is set for 2:15 PM ET one way or another, though, and they’ll have someone out there.