Titanic Sweep Recap

Luis Castillo dominates, Reds sweep Brewers

How sweep it is.

The vision of Luis Castillo making 33 starts for the 2018 Reds should provide comforting thoughts during the cold winter months.

Photo: Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds 7  Milwaukee Brewers 1 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Luis Castillo saved his best for last. In easily his most dominant start, Castillo threw 111 pitches over eight innings. His fastball stayed between 97-99 mph throughout and hit 99 in the 8th. Castillo struck out 10 – a career high – and walked none. That’s zero, nada, zilch, zip, nothing, goose egg. For your consideration:

  • Luis Castillo (24): 3.12 ERA, 3.40 xFIP
  • Dan Straily (28): 3.91 ERA, 4.70 xFIP

Kevin Shackelford delivered pizza in the 9th, with the Reds 11th strikeout.

The Reds jumped on Brewers starter Matt Garza for five runs in the 3rd inning. Consecutive singles by Zack Cozart, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez, plus a bases-loaded walk by Scott Schebler and an error on a ground ball by Jose Peraza gave the Reds their second 5-run inning in as many days.

Cozart added a run with his 18th home run, a solo shot in the 7th. Peraza tacked on a run in the 8th inning with his 5th homer.

Jesse Winker says he’s close to returning. (Mark Sheldon) Winker (24) has been on the 10-day DL since Aug. 25 with a left hip flexor strain. Winker is batting .297/.402/.500 with four HR in 30 games with the Reds.

Billy Hamilton left the game after injuring his left thumb attempting to bunt in the 1st inning. He’s having an MRI.

97 thoughts on “Luis Castillo dominates, Reds sweep Brewers

  1. The WLW boot was going nuts for the pizza K! Very nice curtain call for Castillo. The future for him does look bright.

    I hope Billy is OK. I’d hate to see something like this torpedo his shot at a Gold Glove this season.

        • but does this factor all the ones he does not get down, Billy is a lifetime .180n hitter with 2 strikes – how often does he put himself it that situation with foul bunt?

          • and I think all of his fake bunts hurt his plate approach and has him less prepared to swing at strikes. He would be a better overall hitter if he never ever bunted again.

            And I am a fan of the bunt. Love college baseball where they learn how to bunt. but Billy? He no bunt so good

    • Mixed emotions as I’d rather see the Brewers (minus the Roid Man) there than the Dirty Birds or Stupid Cubs. But a sweep is nice. The look on Counsel’s face multiple times was one of utter confusion.

  2. Watched this one start to finish. Forget the Cueto comps, this kid looks like Pedro Martinez in so many ways. He threw a few 85-86 change ups today (even to righties!) that were so perfectly executed the hitter (uh, batter) looked childish flailing at it.

    If the kid takes care of himself this offseason, and his 170 lb frame can handle the torque, his ceiling is annual Cy Young discussion.

  3. The Reds are 20-16 in their last 36 games. That’s a very respectable stretch lasting nearly a quarter season.

  4. If someone had said in early February….the reds would have a legitimate # 1 SP at age 24 who leads MLB in avg velocity by the end of 2017, that would have been hard to imagine.
    Castillo has changed the trajectory of the rebuild.
    The reds have 22 games left. Jesse Winker and Jose Peraza need to play every day. Philip Ervin needs to play a lot.
    There is much to be learned with the SP. Bailey.Romano.Garrett.and Stephenson get 4 more starts. Cody Reed gets a month on the club…Mahle can finish strong and prove he’s not going back to the minors.

    • Bailey and Castillo are going to be in the rotation. DW has stated he intends to acquire a significant starting pitcher this offseason. At least Romano, Garrett, Mahle, and Stephenson will compete to see who comes in with an edge in Spring (if none of them are traded, and I think it’s very possible, not probable, that one or two of them are). I’m guessing there is a competition for two spots.

      • I would like to see the Reds stick with Mahle and Romano. Mahle seems to have command.location and poise. Romano has the stuff,the size and confidence. We don’t know the market except the pricetag for a controllable elite pitcher is huge. Trammell and Senzel are untouchable in my mind.
        Now….if the Reds got Archer or walker or Stroman for Iglesias.Stephenson and Schebler…..Id consider.

          • Not enough based on past precedent. A team willing to trade a young, controllable pitcher who is already good is usually in a serious rebuild. They have no use for a reliever like Iglesias if they aren’t going to be good for several years. Contenders would pay a pretty penny for Igesias, but contenders aren’t giving up good starting pitching. Stephenson doesn’t have that much trade value. He’s had one good month and hasn’t been a top prospect for several years now.

            I like all three of those Reds players, but go look at precedent for acquiring a guy like Stroman (or wait for my post tomorrow), that package isn’t enough.

        • Reds would be better off pitching Iglesias 5 innings every 5th day than either of the three you mentioned. Iglesias plus Bob Stephenson should require a Gio Gonzalez or Strasburg or DeGrom and that’s not happening.

        • Take out Iglesias. Insert Greene. He is 4 years away…minimum.
          Votto will be 38 and winding down his career

          • SP 1 Archer
            SP 2 Castillo
            SP 3 Finnegan
            SP 4 Bailey
            SP 5 Mahle/Romano

            Disco has missed 2 years and is coming off pitching related elbow injuries. Who knows.

            Bullpen
            Iglesias/lorenzen/Peralta/ Reed/Hernandez/Garrett/ wojo.

            That would be a pitching staff built to last and built to win.

          • That could be a good rotation, though I think Finnegan, Mahle, and Romano still have questions to answer and that others could play themselves into the rotation conversation.

            I prefer Stroman to Archer too. Extra year of control and younger, but I can see a scenario where the Reds go down the general path you’ve described, Old-School.

          • Nevermind, Old School. Archer has four years of control left (two guaranteed and two option years), but I’m still a little concerned about it being his age 29-32 seasons. Love the talent!

          • We all enjoy playing GM. Obviously we don’t the specifics of who.mught be available…….but the bigger point is if the Reds aggressively targeted a truly elite top of the rotation guy to add to Castillo….that would give 2 guys with 180-200 innings and 30 starts and elite stuff capable of beating playoff teams. Things fall into place lit easier when you have that.

  5. Coming out of spring training next season, I can see Castillo as the #2 starter and Bailey as the #3. DeSclafani as #4 and Stephenson as #5. As good as Mahle has been, he might be better served to keep him at AAA for about 10 starts and then evaluate things. One it lets Mahle get a little more work on his stuff, but a secondary consideration would be getting that extra year of service time back on him. The super-2 stuff shouldn’t even be a consideration. I wouldn’t even bump everyone up a spot and slot Mahle into the #5 spot. Mahle though would be ready if DeSclafani isn’t.
    That leaves a conspicuous absence at the #1 spot. Does Finnegan get a shot or is he envisioned more as a late inning bullpen piece? Lorenzen is pitching himself out of a chance for the rotation and is losing his late inning slot to Shackleford if he isn’t careful. It is no coincidence that Shackleford has been getting some high leverage experience lately.
    Going out and trading for a top-line starter really cements this rotation and the team. Even more, it takes away a good amount of question marks going into 2018.

    • 2 things to keep in mind

      1. Castillo had 425 ip in the minors (approximately?). Lorenzen had like 185 ip in the minors. He’s still trying to figure it out, but you can’t teach movement like that. He’s got the arm! Plus he can hit and run…great athlete. I think he’ll make the rotation or atleast provide quality depth.

      2. This is the Reds. Homer is in the rotation and Billy is leading off. Period. Never pencil in 5 guys ahead of Bailey. They could have 14 guys better then Bailey and he’s still starting for 2018-19. He makes a lot of $! Same with Billy…he’s really fast! That’s it. Al Davis’s strategy applied to baseball. Doesn’t matter that he can’t hit most of the time.

      • INDY and I are Lorenzen apologists, but I think it’s with good data to back it up.

        From last year until the All Star Break (July 9th): 96 innings 2.91 ERA 3.37 SIERA
        I know it’s hard to remember how good he was for a significant period of time. But, he was pretty dominant for almost 100 innings. Then, as Chris Welsh points out, he started tinkering with mechanics and introduced the dreaded recoil. It happened a little before the break but not much.

        July 15th (first appearance after break) — August 22: 20.1 innings, 7.97 ERA, and a big jump in line drive% (from 19.2% to 27.9%).
        I only pick these dates because he abandoned the recoil during his next appearance and change his mechanics drastically.

        August 24 — September 4th: 7 innings 1.29 ERA, 28.8% K% and LD% of 18.8%.
        Way too small a sample to say anything, but it is positive. Let’s see if the new mechanics get him back to his old ways.

        The Reds would get a big boost if he returns to form.

        • Good point about the recoil. It is still a work in progress though. I’d like to see him get one more shot at the rotation, but I don’t think that it is forthcoming.
          The part to include Shackleford is that Welsh said the other night that Price was going to use him in some high leverage situations to see how he responds. That last 5 IP’s you mention below have come within that experiment. So another positive sign. Very small, but positive nonetheless. I agree to with you, if Lorenzen, and for that matter Reed and Garrett, return to form it is a big, big boost.

        • I think he’s sort of pitching like a starter more than like a reliever anyway. Most relief pitchers don’t try to throw a 3rd pitch, let alone a 4th pitch regularly. Lorenzen regularly throws 3-4 pitches. While I could expect a little velocity dropoff as a starter, I don’t think his stuff would change that much overall. While most relievers would tend to see their numbers get quite a bit worse if they were in the rotation, I’m not convinced that happens with Lorenzen. What I really hope is the Reds give Lorenzen a chance in the rotation to prove me right or wrong.

    • I’m fine with that rotation, but if they trade for a difference-making pitcher, I don’t think all of those guys will be there.

      Shackleford has a 6.10 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last five innings, but that’s a super small sample. I’m just suggesting it’s too early to say much of anything about him.

  6. It is tremendously impressive to retire 22 out of the last 24 batters Castillo faced. That is close to no-hitter stuff. Mahle has shown that capability the last two seasons at A+ and AA. And Homer has two in his pocket.
    After such painfulness in witnessing the Reds pitching over the last two seasons (Aug. 1, 2015 to Aug. 1, 2017), it is really refreshing to see good starting pitching on a consistent basis starting to materialize.

  7. Let’s hope Disco recovers and Homer continues the most recent better work. Might be a solid rotation in 2018 after all.

    • Blessing in disguise! He needs limited atbats like Castillo needs limited innings pitched. More playing time for Winker and Ervin

    • So who is the leadoff hitter now? I hope Winker gets moved into that spot as soon as he is off the DL.

    • May kill his chances at a GG. He may still lead the league in SB though. Gordon is 9 behind him and there aren’t a ton of games left.

      Price said he hopes Hamilton can come back and at least play some CF and run the bases.

      • Hamilton is also only 2 outs behind MLB leader Rougned Odor and is leading the NL with 436 outs made. Now that he’s out he may not be able to hold off Ender Inciarte who is 16 out made back.

        • That’s only partly his fault 🙂 … He makes a lot of outs because he’s hitting 1st instead of 9th. He gets lots of chances to make outs and only reaches base about 30% of the time. I am not a giant Billy Hamilton fan but feel his defense in CF, with Schebler in RF is a better bet for winning games then say Schebler in CF, and Winker in RF (if Winker was available). He has zero business batting leadoff though and if the Reds had a solid defensive CF who could get on base, then I’d be willing to put Hamilton on the bench. Reds don’t have that guy right now but this does give them an opportunity to see if perhaps Ervin could be that guy. I’ve not seen Ervin play much defensively but from what I’ve seen in MLB, it hasn’t been that good. Reports are that he’s a better OF that I’m seeing though. I defer to you and Doug for most of that since you guys see them play way more than I do.

      • I’d think the roster expansion would open the door for Hamilton to be back sooner rather than later in a pinch run only role which ironically is his only really consistent offensive value anyway.

  8. Every day I’m just a little more convinced the Reds should hang with the starting pitching they have right now. I want to see Castillo, Romano, Mahle, & Stephenson get 8-10 starts next spring. If Bailey is healthy & the Reds acquire a starter, then 1 of those guys (plus Garrett) start the season in Louisville. And that doesn’t count DeSclafani or Finnegan. If the Reds need an sp, they’ll know by mid- to-late May of next season.

    • On paper…they have more then enough starters. Wade is prob too old/expensive, but I’d be tempted to take Cozart’s $ and get a solid closer. That would free up Iggy to be a roving fireman like Andrew Miller. They could go spend big $ on a starter, but no guarantee they’re better then what they have now?

        • I wouldn’t put that kind of cash down for a bullpen arm. This is especially true for a bullpen arm that is starting to see the years creep up.

      • Is there anybody in the league who you don’t want? Lol you’ve about named them all through the season. I think the worst one you wanted was Chacin.

    • This may sound silly, but I think they have to go into next season with the idea of having 10 starting pitchers who can get people out in the majors. Five will start with the big league team, and five will go to Louisville. After the tidal wave of starting pitcher injuries the past two years, I think that thought process has to be considered. That being said, I still think adding an established starter is a good idea, even with the recent improvement of the in-house options.

      • I’d add a tidal wave of pitching injuries across the league.

        You’re spot on Tom. If this was 30 years ago we’d package some of these pitchers in a trade for a front line starter or a high WAR shortstop.

        Now, I’m not so sure…

    • Completely agree. Unless there is significant backsliding, I want Bailey, Castillo, Romano, Mahle and Stephenson in the rotation. I’d put Finnegan in the BP. I think he could be a fierce set-up man and maybe even close. Disco – if he’s healthy – start him in the rotation and move one or two of the young’uns back to Louisville (exactly as Bouwills says above).

      I think it’s more critical that the Reds consider making a trade for a top quality everyday player (especially an OF or a C). As much as I like Barnhart, I worry what would happen if he get hurt. I don’t think Mes will ever be the same and he’s gone after next year, probably. Billy H., will never be the OBP player we need. If we could get an OF such as Blackman, Fowler, for say Disco+Garrett+Ervin? (I’m not knowledgeable about age, contracts, etc., so the names I use as targets are examples of the kind of quality player I’d go after).

      But I love the rookies we’ve brought up. I’d hate to part with any of them (Romano, Mahle, Stephenson and obviously Castillo). I think they are our future.

  9. The bullpen needs a closer look, only Iglesias provides a high level of confidence. After all potential & healthy starters have been slotted in the rotation, yet at least two set-up men and a lefty specialist must be appointed.

    • Agree, Bailey might not hit 100 IP this season, can you expect a full season as starter next season after throwing less than 50 the 2 prior years. Might need to consider him, Disco, and Finnegan for bullpen if people keep progressing the way they do. Are they still planning to try Lorenzen as a starter

  10. Bad news for billy. Really hate to see that happen to him. Hopefully we will see lots of Phil Ervin the next 10 days.

  11. Steve mentioned Patrick Kivlehan in the Game Thread write-up. While I agree he has been as solid bench player, providing some right handed pop; is he really that good of a fielder at any of the positions. At this point who prefers him over Ervin and can you really go with both if all players return?

    • Now you can see why most of us have been screaming to let these young guys pitch.Along with the bad,there has been some and will be more,you get a 10 or 12 game run where these guys have been really good.Throw in a game like today by Castillo and its easy to say why oh why did this take so long.I am not complaining at all but what if this had happened in May?Could we have won 10 more games?If so then look at where we could be.Doesn’t take a genius to see these guys have more upside then Bronson,Feldman,Aldeman and on and on.

      • Yes, they have more upside but they also have innings limits. Also, Castillo is simply better than the other young pitchers the Reds have tried this year. Playing the “if only” game doesn’t really apply. The Reds don’t have two more Castillos sitting in the minors.

        • Why doesn’t it apply?Innings limits can be reached in the big leagues as well.I am not saying Castillo alone could have netted 10 more wins but how many could we had if we had Bob,Romano and Mahle all up here pitching in May?

          • Are you seriously suggesting that the Reds could have contended if they had only started the year with Mahle, Romano, and Stephenson in the rotation? Holy Moley. Bob Stephenson was here and he was terrible. The Reds sheltered him because he wasn’t ready and they were trying to get him to figure things out without crushing his confidence in the process. Remember, he didn’t exactly light up AAA when they sent him down either. Romano was hurt after one start and wasn’t even available to pitch again until July. Mahle was in AA and had zero track record with scouting reports that talked about good fastball command and fringe secondary pitches. That doesn’t scream “put me in the MLB rotation NOW.”

            Ugh.

          • James I am with you on the young pitchers. I especially feel that Garrett was handled very poorly. He either is injured or his psyche was messed up by shipping him down. Mahle, Castillo, and Romano look like they belong. Stephenson still needs to improve his control. A starter cannot consistently walk 5 batters a game and win. Hopefully, Bailey will be back to somewhat normal next year and Desclafani will return to form. If the two veterans, or maybe even Finnegan, return, the Reds will have a solid rotation. I also think Finnegan might be a real plus in the bullpen.

        • Responding to your reply to Garrett below – yes Romano was hurt, otherwise it would have been far better had he been healthy pitching instead of Arroyo/Feldman/Adleman/Bailey/AAAA starters.

          But with respect to Castillo & Mahle I agree wholeheartedly with JG the innings used up in AA ball (and AAA for Mahle) would have been better served at the MLB level and could have yielded several more wins versus A/F/A/B/AAAA. Colorado Rockies began this season with a starting staff with less minor league experience than those guys.

          Bob Stephenson was handled poorly by Price. Sat on the bench numerous games, then expected to start cold against great hitting teams, same with Reed. Price set both of them up for failure. A good manager puts players in a position to succeed while BP did the opposite in this case. In contrast Price stuck with Finnegan all year 2016 and while he was shelled in the first half, Finnegan pitched extremely well 2nd half of last year.

          • Exile I am not or did I say we would contend if the guys pitching now had been up here in May.I said could we have won 10 more games with them then the warm bodies because collectively over the past 10 or 12 starts they have been really good.I realize the Reds had reasons why they weren’t here pitching but I never bought the innings limit excuse nor that this guy or that guy wasn’t ready etc etc.The Reds wasted half of the year and all I am suggesting is where would we be if they hadn’t.The comments by Bear above highlight what actually happened and I especially like the Finny comment because its exactly what we should have done to begin with this year.We can go through one by one every young starter we have and discuss why they should have been here pitching or why they shouldn’t have been here pitching in May.

          • And yet, consider Stephenson now. He’s doing much better despite continuing control issues, so maybe he wasn’t handled poorly.

  12. I feel bad for Billy, but that bunt attempt was godawful. Factor in the misplay in CF and his focus wasn’t the best it could be. Yet another year he can’t get thru September. It wouldn’t kill me if this was his last game as a Red.

    HUGE SILVER LINING—it looks like we’ll possibly see Price mixing and matching Duvall/Schebler/Winker in the corners, and Ervin/Schebler in CF. That’s exciting stuff!!!

    • Maybe not so exciting for the pitching staff. The Brewers’ outfield showed, on several occasions, why defense is important.

  13. Right now there’s little need to look past the Mahle, Romano, Bailey, & Stephenson starts in NY.

    • Looks like we hve other potential good starting pitchers in the minors, and Jose Lopez, in high A ball, looks like the real deal. I hope to see him in AAA by the end of 2018.

  14. Possibly getting Kelvin Herrera from the Royals might make some sense. But trading for an established starter could be on winter shopping list. Stroman makes the most sense to me if the Reds can meet the high demand for him

  15. There’s a chance that the trades for Castillo, Duvall, and Suarez plus the Gennett waiver wire signing might go down as the some of the best decisions in Reds history.

    Castillo looks like a legit ACE. The other rookie starter look mighty fine… finally. Homer looks like he’s adapted to new capabilities. And maybe we get Finnegan (bullpen?) and Disco back next year. If pitching is turned from a weakness to a strength, the Reds offense continues to mature, and defense stays solid, holy cow this becomes a good team.

    Prolonged losing is never good. But give Brian Price credit. He’s helped this team lose with purpose – we can nitpick on the details but here’s what I see: They’ve played hard, continued to improve, and the pitchers who needed time to develop got the space to do so. And this team is ending 2017 on a high note. I know the next few weeks will see pitchers shut down and maybe a few less wins. But, we’ve sorted the mix, know what we have, know what we need, and are positioned to start winning.

    • Youve forgotten about being shutout in 3 or 4 games while looking very uninspired in this recent stretch.For some reason they look flat as a can some games while looking like playoff contenders in others.I know its baseball and that stuff happens but….

        • He doesnt deserve any breaks.This team has played well as of late but the decision to use the kid pitchers only came about because of the injuries to “his”preferred starters.He had no other choice but to pitch them.He has continued to use Billy leading off and misuse his pen on a regular basis.Sorry but I cant give him the least bit of credit for the turnaround of the Reds.

        • The Reds have had the most 9 game losing streaks during his four year tenure – no other team comes close. Price is terrible at shaking things up when things needed to be shaken. His robot like lineups ignore historical data (hello, Peraza hits Cole like a beast and yet sat on the bench) and his daily left right left right left right left lineups further demonstrate his laziness and lack of desire to think about optimization – see Maddon and all that goes into the thought process with respect to the Cubs lineups at ESPN.com

  16. Price is a moron! I’ll watch the Cubs or whoever and they don’t auto bunt! Maddon will have Lackey or Hendricks or whoever swinging away some of the time atleast. I’ve seen Price, on the other hand, have 1st/3rd w/1 out and have Bailey (.175) just bunting the runner to 2nd to set up Billy (.200 vs LHP) vs a lefty? Its idiotic? He horribly mishandled Bob Steve earlier…1-2 innings once a week?
    Our buddy Chuck Schick was right….good players win games and managers don’t matter all that much, but Price is still inadequate. Dusty left Latos in to implode in that infamous Game 5 vs SF while the parking lot attendants knew he was melting down & should’ve been pulled. The Reds can do better but we’re stuck with him.

    • There’s a lot of ammunition for taking shots at Dusty but somehow he is now on his 4th managing gig and thriving. He is either the luckiest person in the world or maybe he knows how to handle a team better than most (or maybe a little of both). We may not think much of the Reds front office but with all of the history of Dusty that is available, Washington still trusted him enough to try to lead their team. What will we say if they win the WS?

  17. Maybe that is Dusty’s real talent. Make players comfortable and put them in a position to win. I’ve always felt that a manager’s role as a tactician is over valued and it is more important that they set the tone and keep players motivated and happy (and sometimes kick them in the butt). Maybe goes back to my days of following the Big Red Machine and seeing Sparky at work. If you ask the pitchers from the 70’s they would not give him high marks for how he handled them but it wasn’t that important. Just needed to keep the big 8 happy. Of course, it is so much harder to judge the intangibles so we focus on lineups and player usage not really knowing all that goes on behind the scenes. Price probably isn’t the right manager going forward but he appears to work with with the FO, the players haven’t given up, and I don’t see guys wanting to get out.

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