Let’s play two today! The Pittsburgh Pirates (25-25) and the Cincinnati Reds (24-28) start a four-game series with a day-night doubleheader on this Memorial Day holiday. First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for 1:10 ET from Great American Ball Park.

The Pirates come to town having just been swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in Pittsburgh. Pirates pitchers gave up 28 runs in three games and only scored 11 runs. That took their run differential to -59, the only NL Central team with a negative run differential.

Starting Pitchers

Luis Castillo 64.1 2.38 3.18 3.21 30.50% 10.90%
Nick Kingham 24.2 8.76 5.04 5.41 19.30% 11.80%

Luis Castillo looks to rebound from his first bad start of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers last Wednesday where he didn’t make it out of the third inning and gave up four runs on five hits while walking two and only striking out three. It happens because this is baseball. Castillo said himself after the game that he just didn’t have it that day.

Castillo has been able to both strike batters out and induce ground balls. With 87 strikeouts in 64.1 innings and a GB/FB ratio of 2.40, it’s no wonder his stats are among the best pitchers in the league right now. A reason for his success is the development of his change up. He’s using it about 31.5% of the time, up from 26.3% in 2018. And he’s figured out how to use both his change up and his four seamer together in a way that works.

Castillo faced the Pirates on Opening Day and gave up only one run on two hits with eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Nick Kingham pitched out of the Pirates bullpen for the first month of the season and wasn’t terrible. He had a 4.35 ERA and 3.58 FIP and struck out 10 in 10.1 innings, while walking four. But the Pirates moved him to the starting rotation at the beginning of May and it has been pretty much a disaster. He’s given up 27 hits and 19 runs in 14.1 innings. He’s also had some control issues, having walked 12 batters in that span. Kingham throws five pitches, but mostly relies on his four-seamer. A lot of the four-seamers he’s thrown have been in the middle of the zone, which could explain why he’s been getting hit hard during his last few starts.

Tucker Barnhart is 3-for-3 with a triple against Kingham. Derek Dietrich and Eugenio Suarez have each hit a home run off him.


1. Adam Frazier (2B)
2. Bryan Reynolds (LF)
3. Starling Marte (CF)
4. Josh Bell (1B)
5. Melky Cabrera (RF)
6. Colin Moran (3B)
7. Elias Diaz (C)
8. Kevin Newman (SS)
9. Nick Kingham (P)
1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Derek Dietrich (2B)
5. Jesse Winker (LF)
6. Yasiel Puig (RF)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)

News and Notes

-Cody Reed comes up for the day. My guess is that he’ll go back to Louisville when the Reds announce a starter tomorrow.

-Scooter Gennett is getting closer to returning.

-Here’s a chart that shows how good the Reds pitching has been this season.

Final Thoughts

The Reds went 6-5 in a stretch of 11 games against 2018 first place teams, which included capturing two series wins against the #stupidcubs. But now it gets interesting. If the Reds really want to prove they can get back into the wild card race and maybe the division race too, they need to prove it this coming week. With seven games against the Pirates and Nationals, this is the perfect opportunity to get out of the NL Central basement.