After losing two of three to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, the Cincinnati Reds (42-48) start a crucial ten-game series against NL Central opponents. They currently sit 6.5 games out of first place, so it’s not hyperbole to say that this upcoming stretch can make or break the Reds’ playoff chances.

First up is a trip to the Windy City to face the current NL Central leader in the Chicago Cubs (50-43). The Cubs are coming off a three game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the Reds have won three straight series against the Cubs.

It’s a rare night game at Wrigley Field, as first pitch is set for 8:05 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Luis Castillo 106.0 2.29 3.66 3.79 28.8% 12.3%
Kyle Hendricks 95.1 3.49 3.51 4.19 21.5% 4.8%


Fresh off his brilliant inning of work for the National League in the All-Star game Tuesday night, Luis Castillo begins his second half of the season with an eye on the NL Cy Young award. While he sits 14th in the NL in FIP and xFIP, Castillo is currently second in ERA. He’s also 10th in the NL in strikeouts with 124, but that shouldn’t matter too much as the current front runner for the Cy Young award, Hyun-Jin Ryu, is 20th in the league in strikeouts. Most Cy Young voters look at ERA, and if Castillo can keep pitching like he’s been pitching, there’s no doubt he will get serious consideration.

What Castillo needs to improve upon is not allowing walks. He’s walked 53 batters this season, already surpassing his total number of 49 walks from a year ago. While his K% has leapt from 23.3% in 2018 to 28.8% this season, his BB% has jumped even higher. In 2018, it was 6.9%, while this season, it’s at 12.3%. If he can start limiting the walks, the second half will be even more fun for him.

Castillo has already faced the Cubs twice this season, both times at Great American Ball Park. In May, he pitched 5.1 innings and gave up two runs on two hits while striking out six and at the end of June, he gave up three hits and three runs in seven innings. While Castillo hasn’t pitched yet at Wrigley Field this season, he has made four career starts there and has a 4.05 ERA with two home runs allowed in 20.0 innings.

Willson Contreras is 4-for-8 against Castillo, and Kyle Schwarber and Daniel Descalso both have two home runs off him.


Kyle Hendricks has been one of the Cubs best pitchers this season. In 95.1 innings, he has a 3.49 ERA/3.51 FIP with 85 strikeouts and only 19 walks. He doesn’t walk a lot of batters and doesn’t give up many home runs, and that’s the reason for his success. Hendricks throws four pitches, but has relied mostly on his sinker and his changeup in 2019.

In June, Hendricks went on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. He returned to the Cubs rotation at the beginning of July and has made two starts since, giving up two runs and four hits each against the Pirates and White Sox in 3.0 and 4.0 innings respectively.

Like Castillo, Hendricks has faced the Reds twice this season as well. In May, he pitched at Great American Ball Park and gave up three hits and one run in eight innings while striking out seven. At Wrigley Field ten days later, Hendricks faced the Reds again and got a no-decision for pitching six innings and giving up three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts.


1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Derek Dietrich (LF)
6. Scooter Gennett (2B)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Curt Casali (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)
1. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
2. Javier Baez (SS)
3. Kris Bryant (RF)
4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
5. Victor Caratini (C)
6. Jason Heyward (CF)
7. Addison Russell (2B)
8. David Bote (3B)
9. Kyle Hendricks (P)

-With the Reds facing a right handed pitcher tonight, Derek Dietrich gets the start in left field.

-Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig both return to the lineup after their day off yesterday. Votto is 10-for-24 against Hendricks with two doubles and three home runs. Puig has a home run off him.

News and Notes

-Alex Wood is making progress on his rehab assignment.

-What should the Reds do with Puig? Click the link to read a few of our writers’ opinions.

-Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, and the Reds podcast with Paul Dehner Jr. and C. Trent Rosecrans from The Athletic has been my favorite in recent weeks. It’s informative and entertaining. My subscription has been well worth the money (and no, I am not getting paid by The Athletic to say this).

83 Responses

  1. matt hendley

    Still no word on winker huh, Oh well.

    Reds gotta make moves.

    • Old-school

      Bobby nightengale on Twitter says Winker is available.

  2. Seat101

    It’s so hard to tell these days, but it does looks like a lineup of mediocre offense and bland defense.

    It be great if I were wrong and we went to perfect game nine to nothing

  3. Rich H

    Winker is not expected to miss any time, passed all the health tests and is considered available today, per Mark Sheldon.

    • Rich H

      Scratch that credit, it is per Russell Dorsey. Apologies Russell!

  4. Preach

    Chris Welch should just go ahead and get a room with Hendricks

    • Don

      Hendricks is an old school pitcher not a thrower. Welch likes those types of pitchers, let the batters get themselves out as they will 7 of 10 times. Keep pitch count low and go many innings.

      I would take that over Mahle or Disco any day.

  5. C Holbert

    TV sound down, up with the audio….Jim Day….can’t the Reds do better..

    • Don

      Day not great but he usually talks about the game and tells more about the reds than Thom ever will.
      Jim at least knows what he does not know.

      • Curt

        His impersonations are pretty funny. Does a perfect Turner Ward.

  6. matthew hendley

    Nice bomb by suarez. Scooter showing that D

    Castillo coming out hot,

      • Lwblogger2

        Castillo has a great one for sure. Best change for a Reds pitcher since Soto is easily something I could agree with. Probably the best change in MLB this year.

        Oh, and good to see you on Preach!

  7. C Holbert

    I have never been a huge JVMR fan, but I am starting to think he should get some of the DD at bats…

  8. Old-school

    Wow- Luis Castillo is really fun to watch.

  9. Don

    Great 1st two innings for Castillo, making Cubs hitter looking really bad, waving at air.

    As Welch said yesterday, cartoon strike outs, most of the time they could swing twice they are do far out in front of the change up.

    • Lwblogger2

      It’s a Bugs Bunny changeup for sure.

  10. Lwblogger2

    Watching Dodgers vs Phillies too. Man, Phillies are playing like fools. Reds have had all manner of issues this year but much lower payroll than Phillies, not a much worse record, and making more mental errors than the Reds have in any game this year. Puts some things in perspective.

    Also, I love Dave Roberts.

    • Old-school

      Harper regretting his decision? How ‘ bout dem Mets? Lots of high payroll bad teams.

  11. matthew hendley

    Hendricks must be showing this massive control…..somewhere

  12. matthew hendley

    Sometimes there is nothing you can do but tip your cap. Bote took away a sure 2B, and even the run. Crazy play

  13. Indy Red Man

    Playing DD > Ervin is borderline criminal. DD has been having trouble with off-speed stuff for 6 weeks atleast. My grade for Bell has went to a C from a B just since this recent David Hernandez blitz. Bell is going to put them completely out of contention pretty quickly at this rate!

    • RedAlert

      Totally agree . Idiotic to play him over Ervin. hottest player on team sitting in such a big series – stupid move.

  14. doofus

    The Cub’s TV announcers are condescending pukes. Who are these clowns?

    • Indy Red Man

      The old pitcher Jim Deshaies (sp?) is the bald guy. I’m watching them and I like them. 10x better then Thom and Jim Day

      • doofus

        That is not a very high bar…Thom, Day or Welsh.

      • doofus

        According to the Cub’s booth dwellers it was Puig’s fault that Strop hit him back in Cincy during the bench clearing brawl. Puig was too animated in the batter’s box, hence Strop was obliged to hit him.

        I have heard the same tripe from the Pirate TV announcers about Dietrich; that he should make an effort to get out of the way.

        There are some good TV announcers and crews in MLB. the NL Central does not have any of them.

        Although I do like listening to the Cowboy. He is unpretentious and knows the game.

    • Phil Gasson

      Sure makes you long for Stone and Caray.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Big on Atlanta Over 4.5 tonite. Milw’s pen has been horrible lately. They can’t get to Hader anymore. FF with a 3 run jack….2 to go. For those that are inclined Indiana is getting sports betting in time for football season!!

  16. BigRedMike

    Castillo too many balls

    Awful pitch on 0-2, passed ball

    Bad baseball

  17. Indy Red Man

    Reds being the Reds…..0-2 on the 8th hitter with the pitcher on deck. So lets gift them a run!

  18. DocProc

    Cover the plate, Luis, and Rizzo is out.

  19. matthew hendley

    Reds gotta play catchup here. Not the best inning by Castillo.

  20. Big Ed

    Rizzo’s ability to take what he was given – a pitch to punch into right field – scored the Cubs 2 runs and will likely be the difference in the game.

    I wish the Reds could do simple things -competitive things – that well.

  21. RedAlert

    Making freaking Kyle Hendricks look like Cy Young – just pitiful . offense lost at sea again .

    • matthew hendley

      news flash, Hendricks actually has recived Cy Young votes. Throwing 88 MPH there must be a reason for that.

    • Grand Salami

      He is basically Bronson in his final year as far as stuff goes.

  22. matthew hendley

    second time that the shift has failed today, Cubs scored twice on the first one.

  23. Grand Salami

    The two Kyles (Schwarber and Hendricks) are fat or broken down and they both still own the Reds.

  24. Roger Garrett

    Six innings,four hits and two runs.Sounds about right and we gave them a couple by just doing what we always do but I still love em and one of these days we will be back.

  25. matthew hendley

    Castillo dodging bullets like Neo in the Matrix. Time to capitalize

    • matthew hendley

      Ask and you shall receive.

  26. Ed

    Nice to see Casali hitting with power the last 2 games!!

  27. VaRedsFan

    I can’t believe it’s not Hernandez warming.

  28. VaRedsFan

    They need a hit of the extra base variety from Votto.

    • VaRedsFan

      2 bent arm swings later…pop out

  29. Aaron B.

    If the Reds lose this series I think they have to be sellers. There is a reason why the Dodgers gave up on Puig. He will never be as motivated as he is right now. I realize he is doing really well right now, but just remember how ice cold his bat was to start the year. There will be more of that in the future without a doubt. I like the guy but he is going to want a big pay day and I really think the Reds should avoid that. They have Winker and Ervin for the corners who are young and cost controlled. I realize the optics might be bad, they even have a bobblehead for him coming up, but if they lose this series its time to be realistic about post season chances and play for the long term. At least they have the starting pitching somewhat stabilized they can build on that for next season. A hot/cold tempermental Puig is best traded while his stock is high, even for a middling prospect.

    • Curt

      Respectfully, the Dodgers didn’t “give up” on Puig. The reason he was moved was all business. Luxury tax issues for starters. The emergence of Muncy allowed for moving Bellinger permanently to the OF, both of whom are making peanuts. They were also trying to land Harper on 3-4 year deal and ultimately pivoted to Pollack for CF, moving Joc to left, all the while knowing they had Verdugo (also peanuts) ready to go anywhere in the OF. Not to mention Taylor or Kiki as 5th and 6th OF.
      Puig had an expiring contract on the way and the least versatile of the bunch, would be in line for a large contract and was the most logical choice to move. He was simply the odd man out and with his buddy Ward already signing on with the Reds, it made sense. It had next to nothing to do with Puig as a player or a person.

      • Ed

        I agree with this take 100%. Right now we have Puig slugging at the plate, stealing bases, and generally excelling defensively, and I think that would be tough to replace.

  30. VaRedsFan

    Cubs are cubbing!!! 2nd error in the inning

  31. matthew hendley

    just like that we are back to where we were 4 batters in.

  32. RedAlert

    Better not see David Hernandez even stand up….ain’t even close between he and Lorenzen stuffwise

  33. VaRedsFan

    Wow…Bell pushed the right button there with Farmer delivering a big run. Casali just homered. wonder if he is hurt?

    • matthew hendley

      Pretty sure CC got hit in his no no place on that missed pitch. Regardless, Reds not messing around.

  34. Roger Garrett

    Big big two out hits by Farmer and Lorenzen.

  35. matthew hendley

    THe only thing better then seeing Cub blue heading for the exits in Cinci is seeing Cub blue streaming for the exits in wriggly

  36. VaRedsFan

    Tip of the cap to Ervin for starting it off with a knock

  37. Don

    Reds have fought hard tonight, long weekend @ Coors field and even coming east a time zone has to be hard to get the body clock.
    Hopefully they can have great pitching to finish out the 8th and 9th.

  38. Seat101

    Wow! I fell asleep at the first inning. I woke up just in time to see the last two hits for the Reds. Has Hernandez pitched yet?

    • Seat101

      Maybe I should go to bed. The Reds and you all were doing fine without me!

  39. Don

    missing garrett a lot right now

    shocked that stayed with Lorenzen after so many 7th inning pitches and running bases in 8th.

    Iglesias needs to show up big time to close out this one.

  40. Don

    great reaction on defense. Huge double play

  41. VaRedsFan

    Double play!!!! Just what the Dr. ordered.
    Lorenzen not sharp tonight, but survived …got 4 outs and 4 baserunners.

  42. VaRedsFan

    Strop vs, Puig….getting my popcorn

  43. Old-school

    Stupid is as stupid does. Base hit.

  44. Old-school

    Reds outfield corps of Winker, Puig, Senzel, Ervin 5-13 with 3 runs scored and home run. Pencil those 4 in for 162 games. The budget also works. Focus on the other 22 roster spots in 2020. Those 4 can handle the outfield at $18-20 million AAV .

    • Aaron Bradley-Hendler

      But 3 of them could handle it at less than 2M lol. I think they can find a 4th outfielder at a bargain price in the off season. I thing Puig is great recently but he is playing for a big pay day. The other guys are all young up and comers. You don’t spend 18M on an outfielder when you have 3 young solid guys as a core already. Now maybe Senzel is better in the infield, probably true, but that still leaves them with two young cost controlled corner outfielders who very well might be better than Puig in the near future. They still need at least two starting pitchers and 3 relievers. I am just saying Puig’s stock may never get higher than it is now. If they fall out of contention by the deadline, cue the Trading Places clip: “Sell! Sell! Sell! Sell!”

  45. RedsMonk65

    As wacky as this season has been for the Reds, they have really owned the Cubs thus far. Hope they can make it pay off in the long run …

  46. jreis

    just got done reading comments from a cubs site.(just for fun) lol. and I got to tell you every other word is a cuss word. thank goodness RLN is a family friendly site

    • TR

      That happens when management is absent.