The Reds (41-63) are going to win another game eventually, right? With continued poor starting pitching and little offensive firepower, the team has seldom even been competitive during this ugly 2-14 stretch in the second half, with a run differential of minus-61 in 16 games.
With a captivating pitching matchup on tap, they’ll look to turn things around and avoid a four-game sweep against the Marlins (49-53) this afternoon at 1:10 p.m.
Although he has only seven career starts and never pitched in Triple-A, Luis Castillo might be the Reds’ most reliable starter right now. The 24-year-old continues to impress with his three-pitch arsenal, owning the highest fastball velocity among starting pitchers (97.6 mph) and a devastating change-up. His slider is still a work in progress, but he’s making strides with the pitch. Although he’s walking a few too many batters at times, his strikeout numbers are impressive, as is his poise on the mound. He’s coming off an outing in which he didn’t have his best stuff, though he did a nice job battling against the Yankees on Tuesday, keeping them to three runs in five innings.
Castillo vs. Marlins
This will be Castillo’s first appearance against his former organization.
Despite more trade rumors swirling around him, Dan Straily is still set to pitch against the Reds for the first time since he was traded in January. Last night, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted the Marlins and Brewers were discussing a trade for the right-hander, but that has apparently not materialized yet. In a year where the league-average ERA for starting pitchers is 4.49, the Fish are reportedly putting an “enormous” price tag on Straily. And why not? He’s under team control through 2021, as well.
After being claimed on waivers before the 2016 season, Straily was the Reds’ most dependable starter. He’s been that for the Marlins this year, too. The 28-year-old leads the team with 117.1 innings pitched and a 1.5 fWAR — already more than the 1.2 he had with the Reds last season. He has also increased his strikeout rate to a career high 22.2 percent while reducing his walk rate to a career low 6.8 percent. Straily is coming off a pair of shaky starts, though, as he’s allowed 10 runs on 19 hits and four walks over his last nine innings. Fortunately for him, his old friends aren’t hitting the ball very well right now.
Straily vs. Reds
This will also be Straily’s first appearance against his former team, but he has faced a few of his ex-teammates before.
|CF Billy Hamilton (64 wRC+)||2B Dee Gordon (86 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (135 wRC+)||C A.J. Ellis (71 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (156 wRC+)||CF Christian Yelich (112 wRC+)|
|LF Adam Duvall (116 wRC+)||LF Marcell Ozuna (139 wRC+)|
|3B Eugenio Suárez (110 wRC+)||3B Derek Dietrich (84 wRC+)|
|RF Scott Schebler (99 wRC+)||1B Tyler Moore (87 wRC+)|
|SS José Peraza (53 wRC+)||RF Ichiro Suzuki (68 wRC+)|
|C Tucker Barnhart (74 wRC+)||SS Miguel Rojas (93 wRC+)|
|P Luis Castillo (3.70 xFIP)||P Dan Straily (4.65 xFIP)|
— As expected, Devin Mesoraco is out of today’s lineup. He left last night’s game after “tweaking” his knee, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan.
— Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto are out of the lineup for the Marlins, which has to be a welcome sight for Reds pitchers.
News, Notes, and Pre-Game Reading
Some sad news today as former Reds great Lee May has passed away. The first baseman was elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006 after hitting .274/.321/.490 with 147 home runs with the team from 1965 to 1971. The Big Bopper was ultimately sent to the Astros in the trade that brought Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, and Jack Billingham to the Queen City.
Lee May, an early member of Big Red Machine, died at 74 on July 29. Wonderful guy, great power hitter. Hit last HR in Crosley Field …
— Bob Hertzel (@bhertzel) July 30, 2017
Anthony DeSclafani is slowly working his way back:
Anthony DeSclafani is done for the night after 4 shutout innings. 46 pitches, 33 strikes. 1 hit, 0 walks, 6 Ks. Fastball 94-95.
— Dayton Dragons (@DragonsBaseball) July 30, 2017
— TinCapsInsider (@TinCapsInsider) July 30, 2017
— TinCapsInsider (@TinCapsInsider) July 30, 2017
Today’s contest is the free game of the day on MLB.TV:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 30, 2017
Straily seems to be excited about facing his former team:
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) July 30, 2017
Former Reds outfielder Chris Heisey is now a free agent:
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) July 30, 2017
It’s always fun when two players who were traded for each other face off. Although the Reds are in a free fall right now, this will be an intriguing game with Castillo and Straily dueling against one another. Both pitchers will likely be throwing with a little bit of pride on the line as they look to show their former team it made a mistake in dealing them.
Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.