by Steve Mancuso

Reds don’t cash Castillo’s gem, lose 6-4

After a promising start to the season yesterday we learned tonight the Reds are not going undefeated.

For a good part of the evening, this game had the makings of a happy-ending repeat of the Opening Day win by the Reds. Luis Castillo threw six dominant innings. But the bullpen gave up five runs in the final three innings. Most observers had worried about the lefty Reds relievers, but tonight, each of three right-handed relievers gave up a home run. Relievers are inconsistent. Outside of three home runs, the Reds didn’t do much at the plate. 

It’s hard to come up with words to describe Luis Castillo’s start. He threw 91 pitches. Over 6 innings he struck out 11 and walked only one. His fastball started the game at 99 mph, cruised at 97-98, and found its way back to 99 mph in his last inning. To my eye, he only threw a handful of sliders. The rest were his lethal changeup. 

Castillo faced Miguel Cabrera three times and struck out the two-time MVP each time. Castillo did it on just 11 pitches. Two were called balls, two were called strikes. Cabrera managed a foul tip. But the other six pitches were whiffs. Here’s a graphic display. 

Lest you think the 37-year-old Cabrera can’t do it any more, just check out his first at bat against someone other than Castillo. Spoiler: It was 390-feet worth of home run that gave the Tigers the lead. 

The hardest hit ball off Castillo was a 90.8 mph single by CJ Cron. Other base hits off Castillo included exit velocities of 69.8 mph, 62.1 mph and 44.0 mph. The one run Castillo gave up was to Jonathan Schoop, after the Tigers’ 2B got jammed and dribbled that 44 mph ball to second base. 

Someone or something has somehow convinced Joey Votto this isn’t April. Swinging at the first pitch he saw, Votto launched a home run 399 feet to right field. It looked just like the ball Votto hit out last night. Only this pitch was an Ivan Nova fastball thrown at hitting speed (92 mph) to the heart of the plate. This pitch got what it deserved from JoeyMVP.

Later in the game Votto walked and lined out over 1B head into DP. That ball was destined for the corner and could have driven in Jesse Winker who had walked. In the 9th inning, Votto just missed another ball hit down the line. 

Freddy Galvis pulled a 2-run homer down right field line 372 feet. Nick Senzel, who had walked, scored ahead of him. Galvis pulled a Nova fastball that drifted back over the middle of the plate. 

Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen were assigned to cover the 7th inning. They each gave up a home run. What started as a 3-1 lead ended the top of the 7th as a 4-3 deficit. 

Curt Casali answered the Tigers with an opposite field home run in the bottom of the 7th. We’ve made this point before that Casali can really hit left-handed pitchers and has done so through his career. This long ball was against LHP Tyler Alexander. 

Amir Garrett pitched the 8th and was sharp. He struck out two batters before facing right-handed pinch hitter Victor Reyes. Reyes grounded deep into the hole at shortstop forcing Freddy Galvis to make a tough play just getting to the ball. Galvis’ throw was just short of 1B but Joey Votto laid out to pick the short hop and record the out. It was an excellent defensive play by both Reds infielders. 

Raisel Iglesias pitched the 9th. He gave up a single before allowing a home run. The pitch wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t in the middle of the plate. More good hitting than bad pitching.  

For those worried about the bullpen, it’s just been one game. The Reds don’t have a shut down crew. Few teams do. What they do have is a bunch of good, above average arms. Raisel Iglesias has been the same guy for two years, and that’s a 3.60 xFIP pitcher.

Hardest-Hit Balls
  • Mike Moustakas (104.3 mph) single
  • Curt Casali (103.0 mph) line out
  • Freddy Galvis (102.2 mph) home run
  • Nick Senzel (102.2 mph) fly out
  • Joey Votto (100.7 mph) home run
Highest Pitch Velocities by Reds Pitchers
  • Luis Castillo (99 mph)
  • Michael Lorenzen (98.7 mph)
  • Raisel Iglesias (96.4 mph)
  • Robert Stephenson (95 mph)
  • Amir Garrett (94.9 mph)
What’s Next?

The Reds play the series finale and rubber match against the Tigers tomorrow at 1:10 pm at Great American Ball Park. The pitching matchup is Trevor Bauer vs. Spencer Turnbull.

Trevor Bauer

The Reds acquired Trevor Bauer at the deadline last year in a 3-way trade [analysis then] that sent #1 system prospect Taylor Trammell to San Diego and Yasiel Puig to Cleveland. Bauer made 10 starts for the Reds last summer and his ERA and FIP weren’t what Reds fans expected. In September, Matt Wilkes took a close look at it in What’s Up With Trevor Bauer?

Bauer throws six pitches. His 4-seam fastball averages 94.5 mph. His Sinker is also a high-mph pitch. Bauer’s throws a big-breaking 12-to-6 curveball about 20% of the time. The 29-year-old pitcher is in the final year of his contract with the Reds and will become a free agent in 2021.

Spencer Turnbull

Matt Korte wrote this about the 27-year-old Turnbull in his Opponent Preview this week:

Breaking onto the scene for his first full season in the big leagues, Spencer Turnbull turned many heads at the start. The story of Turnbull’s rookie season changed by midsummer as he went through a pair of trips to the 10-day IL and missed most of July. Once he returned, Turnbull was able to work his way back into form by September with a nearly league average .317 xwOBA in the final month of play. Turnbull remains an optimistic question mark for the Tigers in 2020 with the potential to become a bona fide number two in the rotation.”

Turnbull throws a fastball (94 mph) about 45% of the time, followed by a Slider (86.5 mph) and Sinker (94.1) about 20% of the time each. He also mixes in a curveball about one out of every 8 pitches.

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Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.