by Steffen Taudal

Reds Complete Sweep of Pirates with Big Day from Offense, Castillo

The Reds offense stayed hot and Luis Castillo bounced back on Wednesday as the Reds completed the sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with an 11-4 win. The winning streak is now up to five, and the Reds’ 5-1 start to the season is their best since 2016.


Tyler Naquin continued his torrid start to the season, hitting the first pitch of the game over the left field wall for a home run.

After a throwing error, Pirates’ starter Chad Kuhl walked Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas to load the bases for Nick Senzel. Kuhl then threw another four balls to bring in a run and make it 2-0 Reds.

Next, Jonathan India hit a flyball into center field that was just deep enough for Votto to tag from third. But the Reds were not done in the first.

Kyle Farmer, who replaced Eugenio Suárez at shortstop for the day, ripped a ball down the left field line that just stayed fair. Two more runs would score. Tyler Stephenson would ground out to end the inning.

Kuhl would settle in after that, though, striking out five of the next seven batters he faced. After Kuhl had gone four innings, the Pirates sent in Chris Stratton to begin the fifth, and he received the same welcome as Kuhl, as Nick Castellanos rocked Stratton’s very first pitch for a home run. 6-0 Redlegs.

Next, Votto singled, Moustakas popped up, and Senzel doubled. With Votto on third and Senzel on second, India hit a ball hard into left field that brought home both baserunners. India was thrown out trying for a double.

The Reds’ offense continued in the seventh inning as Moustakas hit a two-out single into center field, before Nick Senzel launched a ball into left field that Pirates’ Phillip Evans misplayed, allowing Moustakas to score from first. 9-0 Reds.

The offense was at it again in the eighth as Stephenson and Aristides Aquino hit back-to-back home runs off newly entered Pirates pitcher David Bednar.


In the season opener against the Cardinals, Luis Castillo didn’t record a strikeout in 3.1 innings of work. Today, he struck out the second hitter he faced. Across seven innings, he struck out five, walked one and gave up just four hits.  

Castillo looked much more comfortable today. While Castillo didn’t strike out a ton of batters, he was able to induce a bunch of soft contact. Castillo relied on his 4-seam fastball and changeup to do so.

The four-seam and changeup had an average exit velocity (EV) of 78.5 mph and 88.5 mph, respectively. Compare that to his two primary pitches against the Cardinals, his sinker and slider, that had average EV of 93 mph and 90.8 mph, respectively. Overall, a nice bounce-back game for Castillo.

Lucas Sims came on in the eighth and made quick work of the batters he faced, striking out two and inducing a groundout on 15 pitches.

Amir Garrett came in to close out the game in the ninth and got off to a rocky start. Garrett loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, before giving up a grand-slam to Erik Gonzalez. Eventually he settled in, though, as he struck out the last two batters to give the Reds their fifth win of the season.


Hardest-Hit Balls

  • Tyler Naquin: 109.8 mph GIDP
  • Jonathan India: 109.5 mph Single
  • Aristides Aquino: 106.4 mph Home Run
  • Tyler Stephenson: 105.0 mph Home Run
  • Nick Senzel: 103.0 mph Triple

Unluckiest Out of the Day

  • Joey Votto: .940 xBA | Lineout

Highest Velocity by Pitcher

  • Luis Castillo: 97.8 mph
  • Lucas Sims: 96.1 mph
  • Amir Garrett: 95.7 mph

Highest Pitch Spin

  • Lucas Sims: 3302 rpm | Curveball

Most Pitch Movement

  • Lucas Sims: 48 inches vertical movement | Curveball
  • Luis Castillo: 20 inches horizontal movement | Sinker
What’s Next?

The Reds are off on Thursday as they head west for a six-game road trip. They’ll return to action on Friday night at 9:40 p.m. EST against the Diamondbacks, with Tyler Mahle set to make his second start. The Diamondbacks have yet to announce their starting pitchers for the weekend series, but Friday will be lefty Caleb Smith’s turn in the rotation.

For more in-depth thoughts on today’s game and a preview of what’s ahead, consider subscribing to The Morning Spin, our daily newsletter. We’ll also analyze Reds news, give you a Stat of the Day, answer your burning questions, and more. You can get three issues for free; after that, it’s just $5 per month. Join us!

Featured Image: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Steffen has been a huge Reds fan since watching his very first baseball game during the 2018 season. Despite the Reds finishing 5th in the NL Central for the fourth season in a row, he found himself drawn to the team's storied past and infinitely likable players such as Eugenio Suárez and Joey Votto. Since then, his love of baseball has led to a deep interest in the game's analytics and advanced statistics. Steffen is from Denmark and recently graduated from Aarhus University. You can follow him on twitter @TaudalSteffen

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Armo 21
Armo 21
9 days ago

Nice write up Steffen!

Michael Petry
Michael Petry
9 days ago

One thing that makes me particularly happy is that even though the Reds are clearly getting luckier with some hits finding holes, there are still a number of hard luck outs each game.
But that got me to thinking, what’s the average unluckiest out of the game for each team? Are the Reds still luckier or unluckier than the normal team?

9 days ago
Reply to  Steffen Taudal

Definitely answers it. Basically I’m just looking for a little bit of reassurance that the luck hasn’t swung all the way back to the Reds (which would lead one to believe that it’s less likely to continue). Thanks for following up and answering!