The Cincinnati Reds (39-50) got off to a rough start to the second half, as they were shutout 5-0 by the Washington Nationals (53-36). The Nationals have the worst bullpen in baseball, but the Reds could get into the Washington pen until the 9th inning. The Reds will send their young stud Luis Castillo to the mound tonight at 7:10. Castillo will have his biggest test yet, going up against Max Scherzer, who started the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Luis Castillo will be making just his fifth big league start, but it is already his second start against the Nationals. Castillo made his big league debut in Washington on June 23rd, and he pitched pretty well: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 BB, 5 K. He gave up home runs to Goodwin and Rendon. The long ball has been Castillo’s biggest struggle at the big league level.
Castillo was able to avoid the long ball in his last start, and pitched brilliantly in Arizona: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Castillo’s average fastball of 97.8 MPH is the second best among the 262 MLB starting pitchers this year, only trailing Noah Syndergaard (99.5).
Max Scherzer has been the best pitcher in the National League this season. He leads NL starters in fWAR, ERA, FIP, and K/9. The Reds fortunately missed Scherzer earlier this year. The Reds did well against Scherzer last season (2 GS, 12.2 IP, 4.26 ERA, 9 H, 6 ER). Joey Votto is 4 for 8 with a homer in his career vs Scherzer.
You can find the lineups here.
The Reds really need to get a win. Castillo has been a lot of fun to watch, but he has got his work cut out for him tonight. This could be a big chance for Castillo to show that he can be one of those starting pitchers that will “stick.” Go Reds!