Luis Castillo hummed a meatball right down the middle to Nolan Arenado in the Bottom of the 1st, a pitch that by all accounts split the strike zone down the middle - and across the middle - as well as one could. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion had other ideas, however, and what sure as heck looked like the called third strike that would end that PA was called a ball.
As fate - or, as typical Cincinnati Reds fate - would have it, the very next pitch changed the game for the worse, as Arenado lifted a looper into shallow RF and turned on the frustrations for the Reds Friday night. Paul Goldschmidt, who had walked in front of Arenado, came in to score on the play after Aristides Aquino threw wide of 1B trying to throw behind Arenado, and a later Brandon Drury throwing error at 3B allowed Arenado to score the second run of that inning.
A tough missed call and a pair of errors, that’s all that the St. Louis Cardinals could muster off Castillo and the Cincinnati bullpen, but it was also all they needed in the Reds 2-0 loss to open the series. Despite loading the bases in the Top of the 1st and adding 5 walks to their 4 hits on the night, the Reds couldn’t push a single run across the plate to back their ace, and fell in their first foray into Busch Stadium this season.
Tony Graphanino (link)
- Joey Votto walked twice and added a single, raising his season OBP up to .351 and his OPS+ to 102. Hey, BBRef even has him with positive bWAR (0.2) on the season now!
- Castillo’s final line was once again excellent, umps and gloves be damned. He was somehow charged with an earned run for the mess in the 1st - and had to throw more than a dozen extra pitches to get out of the jam - but still finished with 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB, 3 K on 102 pitches.
- Hunter Greene will toe the rubber for the Reds on Saturday afternoon opposite veteran Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. First pitch is set for 2:15 PM ET.