That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Dominant pitching from Luis Castillo. Hitting up and down the lineup. Sure, the Brewers were without Ryan Braun (back), Christian Yelich (DL oblique), Eric Thames (groin), their starting catcher (DL calf) and backup catcher (DL shoulder). But even if all those guys were healthy, it wouldn’t have helped tonight. The 8-game losing streak is dead.
Let’s hope the Reds haven’t adopted a strategy of scoring all their April runs in one game. I would have to question that tactic if they did.
Luis Castillo picked up where he left off last season. Castillo faced the Brewers in his final start of 2017 before he was shut down. Over 8 dominant innings, he struck out 10 – his major league career high – and walked none. Tonight, Castillo had tremendous control of his fastball, throwing it 95-97 mph. Castillo used his change-up as a strikeout pitch on all but one of his Ks. Castillo pitched 6.2 innings, with 8 strikeouts and 3 walks. This was Castillo’s best start of the season and the second good one in a row for the Reds following Homer Bailey yesterday.
Castillo helped the Reds from the batter’s box in the 6th inning by smacking a single down the first base line driving in the Reds 5th run. It was Castillo’s third hit in 2018. The 25-year-old had two hits in 2017.
Wandy Peralta pitched a clean 8th. Raisel Iglesias gave up a walk in the 9th.
The three runs scored by the Reds in the 2nd inning were due to a chain of improbable events. Phillip Ervin, playing for Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker and who looked overmatched all weekend against the Cardinals, doubled to right-center. Tucker Barnhart drove Ervin home on a sharp single. Ervin beat the throw by an eyelash. Phil Gosselin, who was batting .118, singled to center. Castillo advanced both runners with a perfect bunt down the third base line. Then Billy Hamilton, batting .170, lined a two-out single down the right field line driving in two runs.
The Reds padded their lead in the 6th inning with six runs. It began with back-to-back doubles by Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett. Later in the inning, Billy Hamilton got his third RBI of the night with a single to center. Jose Peraza, after swinging at a ball that bounced in the opposite batter’s box, doubled down the left field line, plating Castillo and Hamilton.
Adam Duvall is heating up. He had a double and homer yesterday and was three for five tonight with two doubles. Duvall has raised his OPS from .449 to .686 since Friday.
Scooter Gennett made several nice defensive plays at second base. So did UVA grad (Chad!) Phil Gosselin at third. On the frowning side of the run prevention ledger, Phillip Ervin booted a fly ball that bounced right in front of him. He then threw the ball wildly back to the infield, allowing the batter to advance. In the worst official scoring decision of this century, Ervin was not awarded an error, when he should have had two.
Joey Votto’s single in the first inning was the number 1,600 hit of his career. Only 500 more and he’ll have almost half what Pete Rose did. Votto missed his first extra-base hit of the season in the the 3rd inning when he shot a ball down the left field line that was foul by an inch or two. Votto then doubled in the the Reds 6-run 6th inning with a shot to centerfield.
Mark Sheldon filed a report as the game started with the following news: (1) Amir Garrett will remain in the Reds bullpen for the foreseeable future, (2) Jesse Winker, who is nursing a sore shoulder, took batting practice today for the first time in a while, and (3) Scott Schebler was shipped to AA-Pensacola to continue his rehab.
Bryce Harper hit a 406-foot home run as he broke his bat in half. His team, the Washington Nationals are 4-9 since they swept the Reds in the season’s opening series.