As my Red Reporter colleague Derek Grimes said in our Slack room mid-game, Luis Castillo owns “some of the most effortless 98 mph heat I’ve ever seen.”
Right on, Grimey. Right on.
On perhaps the biggest baseball stage on which the Cincinnati Reds have played all season, Castillo was simply excellent. Superlative. Electric, ‘and thrilling,’ as John Sadak opined on the broadcast. He tossed an even 100 pitches on the night against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park, and only one of them was turned around for a hit - a single by Rafael Devers.
That was it. Castillo, tonight’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game, punched out 10 Sox across 6 IP on the evening, stranded a trio of walks, and showcased the kind of elite arm talent that we’ve been able to watch repeatedly for the last handful of years. Because of that, and because of a mostly rock-solid outing by the bullpen behind him, the Reds managed to eek out a win, continuing their effort to pick themselves up off the mat and turn this season into something other than an absolute historic disaster with a 2-1 win against Boston.
I do not know what the future holds for Luis. I do not know if the next time he pitches in the postseason, or even in a September game that matters, will come in a Cincinnati uniform. While his service time racks up and the team control over him the Reds have dwindles, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that outings like this at least make the rest of the baseball world that much more aware of what he’s worth - and even if that’s to the detriment of Cincinnati’s chances of extending him ha ha ha - he’s upped his trade value with the way he’s come back from his early season shoulder troubles.
Tonight was Castillo’s night. He was simply excellent. Even though the Cincinnati offense was a tad unlucky (see below) and lucky (both of their runs came on errors by Boston’s infield on throws to 1B) at the same time, and even though that was good enough to get the win, it’ll be how Castillo dominated that’ll be what resonates long-term when one thinks about this game.
Reds Stockings 2, Red Sox 1 - even if it got squeaky with Tony Santillan on the mound in the Bottom of the 9th.
Tony Graphanino (link)
- Joey Votto was tremendous again, and tremendously unlucky again. He hit two long doubles that literally bounced off the top of the wall, inches from a two-dong game. In the process, he moved into second all-time in extra-base hits in club history as well as tying Barry Larkin with 441 career doubles, also the second most in team history.
- Votto also walked on the night, because of course he did.
- It was Matt Reynolds who scored the game’s first run, and he deserves some dap for that (and, really, for what he’s provided for the Reds as option Y so far this season). It was off his bat that the second run scored in similar fashion. He singled thrice and swiped a bag before scooting home when Devers threw wide of 1B on an infield grounder by Nick Senzel in the Top of the 6th. In the Top of the 9th, his grounder forced Xander Bogaerts to make a tough play, but his throw went wide of 1B to allow Alejo Lopez - who was pinch-running for Moose - to come in.
- Speaking of last-ditch options, Albert Almora, Jr. continued his rock-solid ways tonight, too - he went 2 for 4 while playing LF in lieu of Tommy Pham, who was scratched with a sore calf.
- That was the first Reds win in Fenway since the 1975 World Series. Read that one out loud.
- Tomorrow will allow the folks of Fenway to get a glimpse of Hunter Greene on a similar stage. It’ll again be a 7:10 PM ET start, with Garrett Whitlock set to share the bump with Greene to start.