The Cincinnati Reds (1-0) are undefeated on July 25th for only the second time in history. The other time was 1869. Sure, the Reds only have one win this year, but let’s not worry about the qualifier on this one. The offense and pitching staff did exactly what you would like to see them do against the Detroit Tigers (0-1) on Opening Day, bringing home a 7-1 victory. Today kicks off game two of both the series and the season.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Luis Castillo 190.2 3.40 1.14 10.1% 28.9%
Ivan Nova 187.0 4.72 1.45 5.8% 14.1%
Stats from the 2019 Season

Luis Castillo

Coming off of an All-Star season, Luis Castillo should have the advantage in this match up today. But Castillo was quite a bit different in the second half last season compared to the first half. His first half ERA was 2.29 and he held hitters to a .562 OPS against him. But in the second half his ERA jumped up to 4.78 and hitters posted a .715 OPS against him. The big difference came in the power he gave up – in 79 fewer batters faced he allowed 17 doubles (12 in the first half) and 13 home runs (9 in the first half) – but his BABIP also jumped from .226 to .309. Not everything went in the wrong direction, though. His strikeout rate jumped up slightly, but his walk rate really improved.


Home 125.2 3.15 12 8.1% 27.9% .191 .263 .308
Away 65.0 3.88 10 13.6% 30.7% .222 .337 .407
1st Half 106.0 2.29 9 12.3% 28.8% .169 .286 .276
2nd Half 84.2 4.78 13 7.4% 29.1% .239 .296 .419

Luis Castillo threw a lot more innings at home last season than on the road – 66% to 34% to be exact – and he was more successful at home. Far fewer home runs on a per-rate basis, and his walk rate was significantly lower. In turn, his average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage against were all also lower in Cincinnati than when he was pitching in the opponents ballpark.

His first half and second half splits were also a bit different. Actually, they were a lot different. His ERA more than doubled from the first to second half as his home run rate jumped up in a big way, and his BABIP went from .226 to .309 and that resulted in an OPS of .715 in the second half for hitters facing him versus the one they posted in the first half of just .562.

vsRHH 369 64 12 0 9 9.2% 27.9% .194 .270 .312
vsLHH 412 75 17 1 13 10.9% 29.9% .209 .308 .372

Luis Castillo is strong against both lefties and righties, but he really dominates right-handed hitters. Last season their OPS against him was just .583 on the year. Lefties didn’t have much success against him, but they did better than righties as they posted a .680 OPS against him during the 2019 season.

Pitch Usage and Value

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Change
Velo 96.5 96.6 85.9 87.3
Usage 30% 21% 17% 32%
Value/100 -0.36 1.5 -0.13 2.68
MLB Rank 82nd 11th 61st 2nd
MLB Rank among 130 pitchers with 100 IP in 2019

Luis Castillo has two very good pitches – his 2-seam fastball and his change up. Both of them are among the best in all of baseball. But his slider is basically a league average offering, and his 4-seam fastball despite strong velocity is a below-average pitch – or at least that was the case for 2019.

Ivan Nova

A free agent pick up in January for the Tigers, Ivan Nova is coming off of his worst ERA season since 2015 when he was pitching for the New York Yankees. Last season with the White Sox he posted a 4.72 ERA – but that’s not as bad as it seems on the surface, his ERA+ was 97 – meaning his ERA when adjusted for the ballparks was nearly league average. With that said the 6′ 6″ right-handed pitcher led the American League in hits allowed with 225 of them in his 187.0 innings. Nova doesn’t walk many hitters, but he also doesn’t strike hitters out. As you can see in the stats above, he struck out hitters at a rate less than half of that of Luis Castillo in 2019. His strikeout rate of 14.1% was second lowest among qualified starters in baseball last season.


Home 80.2 4.24 15 4.5% 15.9% .255 .298 .448
Away 106.1 5.08 15 6.8% 12.9% .337 .386 .508
1st Half 100.0 5.58 19 5.9% 15.1% .318 .362 .530
2nd Half 87.0 3.72 11 5.7% 13.0% .286 .336 .429

When it comes to splits, there are a few that stuck out last year. On the road his ERA was 5.08, compared to 4.24 at home. Hitters lit him up on the road, hitting .337/.386/.508 against him in 20 road starts in 2019. His strikeout to walk ratio was also significantly worse on the road than it was at home. That said, he was also a lot better in the second half of the season compared to the first – with an ERA of 3.72 after the All-Star break (5.58 in the first half), mostly because he kept the ball in the park a lot better.

vsRHH 399 114 18 0 13 6.0% 14.3% .313 .365 .470
vsLHH 407 111 26 0 17 5.7% 14.0% .293 .335 .496

Righties and lefties had an OPS that was just 4 points apart from each other, but righties got on base a lot more against him, while lefties showed more pop against him.

Pitch Usage and Value

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Change Curveball
Velo 92.8 95.5 87.0 86.5 80.1
Usage 16% 38% 13% 16% 17%
Value/100 -0.50 -0.18 -0.69 0.00 -1.19
MLB Rank 86th 47th 68th 58th 74th
MLB Rank among 130 pitchers with 100 IP in 2019

When it comes to the pitch repertoire for Ivan Nova he will bring five offerings to the table. His main offering is a 2-seam fastball that he throws 38% of the time, but he’ll also mix in a 4-seamer 16% of the time. His secondary stuff gets pretty similar usage with a change up and curveball both coming in 16% of the time, and a slider at 13%. He doesn’t throw hard – his fastball averaged 92.4 MPH last season. According to Fangraphs Pitch Values, only his change up was a pitch that wasn’t below-average last year, and it was league average.

Starting Lineups

Detroit Tigers

Cincinnati Reds

Niko Goodrum – SS Jesse Winker -DH
Jonathan Schoop – 2B Joey Votto – 1B
Miguel Cabrera – DH Eugenio Suárez – 3B
C.J. Cron – 1B Mike Moustakas – 2B
Christin Stewart – LF Nick Castellanos – RF
Jeimer Candelario – 3B Shogo Akiyama – LF
Cameron Maybin – RF Nick Senzel – CF
Austin Romine – C Freddy Galvis – SS
JaCoby Jones – CF Curt Casali – C
Ivan Nova – SP Luis Castillo – SP

With a right-handed pitcher on the mound, David Bell is getting some more lefties into the lineup. Jesse Winker is getting the start at designated hitter today, and Shogo Akiyama is making his first start in the Major Leagues with the nod in left field. They’ll join Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas to make four lefties in the lineup to start the day.

Last season lefties got on base less against Ivan Nova, but they hit for more power, too. His overall splits were fairly similar, so the advantage may not be huge here – but every little bit does help.

When and Where

  • Game time: 5:10pm ET
  • Where: Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark
  • Watch: Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Detroit,
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: Sunny and 87° at first pitch, 0% chance of rain.

NL Central Standings

Team Wins Losses GB
Reds 1 0 0
Cubs 1 0 0
Cardinals 1 0 0
Brewers 0 1 1
Pirates 0 1 1

News and Notes

Aristides Aquino, Tejay Antone called up

This just happened as we hit post on this article. The Reds called up Aristides Aquino and Tejay Antone to take the spots on the roster vacated by Matt Davidson (positive test for COVID-19) and Tucker Barnhart (3-day paternity leave – best of luck!).

Reds call up Aristides Aquino, Tejay Antone in roster shakeup

Nick Castellanos works on his defense

After the game on Friday night, outfielder Nick Castellanos headed back to right field and took fly balls for nearly an hour. He’s stated several times since signing that he wants to continue to work and improve on his defense. He also stated that he signed with the Reds for a lot of reasons, but one of them was so that he wouldn’t have to be a designated hitter and could play in the field. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer had this from earlier today:

Tigers claim RHP Carson Fulmer

He probably won’t get a chance to play in this series for Detroit, but the Reds take the Tigers on again next week and Carson Fulmer should be available by then. Fulmer was the 8th overall draft pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. But since making his debut in 2016, he’s barely pitched in the Majors, with a career high innings pitched of 32.1 in 2018. His ERA for his career is 6.56 due in large part to his inability to throw strikes with any consistency (64 walks in 94.2 innings).

59 Responses

  1. Don

    I wonder if the game last night was the 1st time he played right field at GABP with the lights on and limited sunlight.
    He may have lost some balls in the lights or trying to figure out how to position himself to see the ball against the night sky and the lights.

    Castellanos is leading by example, never be satisfied and always try to get better.
    That is great to see.

    Need to see 1st half Castillo today and dominate the Tigers.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’ve been clicking away furiously at this and I can’t tell if it is doing anything.

  2. Doug Gray

    *Looks at scoreboard and sees the Reds trailing*

    WHAT IS THIS FEELING? Do not like.

  3. Mark Moore

    Seemed to me he was nibbling with a few of those batters. The run was unfortunate given the roller that got Scoop/Scope/Schoop (thanks Thom) on.

    Shake it off and let’s send Nova to an early shower session.

  4. Mark Moore

    Wait … what???

    Looks like JV has a chip on his shoulder and we’re the beneficiaries of that 🙂

  5. Old-school

    Joey apparently didn’t like it either.
    Dude looks like Barry bonds the last 2 days on inside pitches with short swing.

    • Mark Moore

      Yeah – I noticed how compact both of those swings were.

  6. Mark Moore

    In my mind, I just heard Lou Brown yelling at Roger Dorn … “None of that ‘ole’ bullxxxx! Get in front of the ball.”

    OK, fresh game, now 8 innings.

  7. ClevelandRedsFan

    Joey bringing back the fear of pitching inside. Checkmate all pitchers. As soon as they start pitching outside, he’ll start roping balls opposite way.

  8. Mark Moore

    Wow … just wow. Our #8 guy. Like that walk by Senzel even more.

  9. CFD3000

    Joe. E. Votto! 2 bombs in 2 days is a great start for the notoriously slow starter. So far so good.

    On an unrelated note, I’m watching on MLB.TV and have a funny feeling I’m behind the FSOhio feed. At my house Moustakas just singled. How far behind am I?

    • Mark Moore

      Over a full inning. I’m watching it on and I think I’m current.

      Try selecting the “live” option.

    • CFD3000

      Never mind. Thanks guys. I didn’t realize that when I started the broadcast it wasn’t “Live”. My bad. The format is different on my new TV. I may be dumb but I’m not stupid – got it now. Go Reds!

    • Mark Moore

      And we turned over the lineup. More opportunities usually means more hits when our guys are going like this.

  10. Roger Garrett

    Reds lineup is solid and for the first time in forever the DH helps us.We have more then a few guys that can hit and it doesn’t matter much where they hit in the lineup.Barring injury and the virus it should be a very interesting 60 games.

  11. Eric the Red

    This Schoop guy is bugging me. He should play the lotto.

  12. Mark Moore

    Took a brief break … seafood feast night for me. Scallops and shrimp to prep.

    Castillo seems to be laboring a bit again.

  13. Roger Garrett

    Just when I say we can hit we don’t.Nova making it look easy right now so I guess I better say maybe we can hit.

  14. Tom Mitsoff

    This might be as good as I have seen Castillo. He’s keeping the ball low in the zone on all of his pitches. Making a Hall-of-Famer like Cabrera look like a schmuck.

    • Slicc50

      It seemed to me he threw his change up for strikes more often, rather than hoping the batters would chase one out of the zone? He looked real good today! Him and Sonny #’s 1 and 2 at the top of this rotation are looking pretty good right now!

  15. Eric the Red

    I think we may have a pretty good team this year. Sonny & Castillo have the potential to really tie guys in knots.

  16. Eric the Red

    I like the Moustakas signing, but after another couple of games of THOM! talking about him and goading Jim Day to say “Mooose”, I’ll probably beg for him to be DFA’d.

    • Mark Moore

      DFA Thom? I’m all for that …

  17. Old-school

    First stress test of the season. Starting pitchng great. Offense good..some luck issues today…bullpen has some questions. Absolutely must win this game.

  18. Old-school

    How does Lorenzen forsake 98 mph FB.

    Stephenson and Lorenzen could t get guys out or throw strikes . Bullpen major fail.

  19. Roger Garrett

    My thoughts exactly.WOW.Just can’t let this guy beat you.Doesn’t matter if he had struck out 10 times in a row.

  20. Tom Mitsoff

    Sometimes it seems like any well-hit fly ball is a home run.

    • Mark Moore

      Like tonight? Let’s see if we can get a couple more of those.

  21. Roger Garrett

    I wonder if Curt felt like that 88 mph meat ball Cabrera hit out was on him?

    • BigBill

      Some of Cassali’s pitch calls don’t make sees but that was a meatball

  22. Mark Moore

    OK – Joey is playing out of his mind. He’s beyond “mid-season” form. He’s looking to prove something in my PoV. And I’m loving it!

  23. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Oh, boy, Senzel should have gone for 2nd there. There was no one covering 2nd.

    Ah, at least he stole it.

  24. Old-school

    Castillo struck out 11 and gave the bullpen a 2 run lead against the worst team in baseball to get 9 outs abd they couldn’t do it.

  25. Mark Moore

    Well, I’m thinking that kills it for tonight. Iggy-got-popped again 😮

  26. Hanawi

    Bullpen is going to be the issue with this team all season.

  27. D Ray White

    Always be trading closers. Let some other team coddle Iglesias’ desire you be a closer. Raisel has been just a guy for a while.

    • Mark Moore

      Missed that window 2 years ago …

      • Roger Garrett

        Exactly.Just the same guy again.Went through this last year and he was outspoken about how he was being used.Guy just doesn’t have it unless he has a 2 or 3 run lead which stats say any team wins 80% or more of the time.

  28. BigBill

    Stupid move to take out Castillo when he was dealing and right at 90 pitches. Bell is going to kill this team by going so quick to a shaky bullpen. Iglesias and Lorenzo are really unreliable.

    • Mark Moore

      He wouldn’t have gone more than 7 … then you are in the same pickle with the same guys tonight.

  29. Vandermint

    I’m not sure whether I want to know what kind of trade offers for Iglesias we have turned down over the years. No save situation and he is straight garbage.

  30. Jefferson Green

    Gotta win to go wire to wire. Go, Redlegs!

  31. earmbrister

    Tough call on the 3rd strike to Casali.

  32. PaRedsfan

    I get that same queasy feeling whenever Lorenzen or Iglesias come in to pitch. Seems like they always give up at least one run. Low confidence in either to get the job done. I hold my breath waiting for the what seems like the inevitable. Both today….sigh.

  33. earmbrister

    It would be nice if Suarez’s first hit this season was an HR.

  34. Mark Moore

    At least the Stupid Cubs lost (sigh)

    Back at y’all tomorrow

  35. earmbrister

    The BP, with the exception of Garrett, blew today.

    Glad we got that lone loss out of our system …


  36. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I have to say I don’t like how Bell pulls pitchers so early. I mean, especially this year, with a shortened season, there shouldn’t be such a problem of getting pitchers “tired”. And, this game, Castillo just struck out the side in the 6th, under 100 pitches, and he comes out of the game?! Then, he pulls Garrett after pitching a perfect 8th?

    In closer games, extra inning games, this is going to get him in trouble, I believe, if any last long. For, we will have to be going to our worse relievers in those longer games.

    As well as, this season, you can’t just play “regular”. Every game equivalently is something like 2.7 games. You have to play more to win. You have someone going strong, you keep them in. I can understand having a “quick leash”, but not an “early leash”.