After a win last night that including good pitching and timely offense, the Cincinnati Reds (55-74) look to continue their dominance against the Pittsburgh Pirates (61-68) this season tonight at Great American Ball Park
Note that first pitch is at 6:40 ET, instead of the usual 7:10 ET, due to the post-game concert featuring the Avett Brothers.
Castillo (or ‘La Piedra’ this weekend) pitched just four innings in Atlanta last Sunday, but it wasn’t because he didn’t pitch well. He gave up just two runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking only two. Castillo has more than proven himself this season, and now it’s all about starting to limit his innings. This will likely be one of Castillo’s last starts of 2017, as Bryan Price said he doesn’t want Castillo to pitch much more than 150 innings. Combined with the 80.1 innings he pitched at AA-Pensacola before being called up, Castillo is right at that 150 mark now. My guess is that he gets two more starts, including today, before the Reds shut him down for the season.
For as good as Cole (‘Cole Train’) has been in his career, he is 0-6 with a 5.14 ERA in nine games against the Reds. He’s faced the Reds just once this season back in May, pitching 6.0 innings and giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits and striking out seven while walking only one.
This season, Cole has pitched decently for the Pirates. His strikeout and walk rates are comparable to his breakout year of 2015, when he had a 24.3 K% and a 5.3 BB%. His issues this year, however, have been the home run ball. He’s given up 27 home runs this season, more than double his career high. His fly ball percentage has increased from 29.0% a year ago to 34.5% this year, and consequently his HR/FB ratio has gone up about 10 percentage points, from 6.8% to 16.7%. Cole is using his change up about 11 percent of the time this season, up from 5.4 percent a year ago.
Here’s how he has fared against the Reds:
Lineups can be found here.
-Jose Peraza gets the start at shortstop today, in what I presume is just a day off for Zack Cozart. Cozart doesn’t hit Cole very well, and Scooter Gennett does, so it looks like Price felt this was a good off day for him.
-Joey Votto extended his on-base streak to 29 games with a walk in the eighth inning last night. He’ll try for 30 games tonight.
Stat of the Day
Eugenio Suarez has been getting better and better, and he’s just 26. His home run total has increased every season, and now he’s part of an elite group to hit 20+ home runs at GABP in a season. The Reds will have a decision to make with Suarez and Senzel at the same position in the next couple of years. It’s a good problem to have.
-If you’re curious, Votto currently has 18 home runs at GABP, so he could also join the list this season.
News and Notes
-Tyler Mahle will make his MLB debut tomorrow.
-Continuing with the theme of exciting Reds prospects making their debuts, Hunter Greene is scheduled to make his professional pitching debut for the Billings Mustangs tomorrow.
-The Blake Wood era in Cincinnati is over.
-Rookie Davis turned in another outstanding start for Louisville last night. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets at least one start with the Reds in September, especially with Castillo being shut down.
With Mahle getting the start on Sunday, the weekend rotation for the Reds will have been Robert Stephenson, Castillo and Mahle. This is a very good thing.
With Stephenson’s performance last night, Castillo’s performances since he was called up, and Mahle’s potential based on his minor league performances, are we finally seeing the future of the Reds? If so, based on some small sample sizes, it looks bright.