The Cincinnati Reds (25-26) swept the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-34) with a 1-0 win on Wednesday night behind a brilliant start from Luis Castillo. The Reds offense only got one run, coming on an RBI by Shogo Akiyama. That’s all they needed behind 7.0 shutout innings from Luis Castillo and a pair of perfect innings from Archie Bradley and Raisel Iglesias.

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (14-34)
0 3 0
Cincinnati Reds (25-26)
1 5 0
W: Castillo (3-5) L: Brubaker (1-2) SV: Iglesias (8)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

There wasn’t much going on for either team offensively. The Reds got things brewing in the bottom of the 5th inning with a 2-out rally. Jose Garcia singled and moved to third base on a Curt Casali single. The catcher then stole second base – his first career steal – setting things up for Shogo Akiyama. On a 2-2 count he lined a single into left field, bringing in Garcia to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. But Adam Frazier came up firing home, and when the ball was cut off, Akiyama was caught in no-man’s land between 1st and 2nd, and in the ensuing rundown, Casali broke for the plate and was easily thrown out at home to end the inning.

A 6th inning leadoff double by Nick Castellanos had the Reds threatening again rather quickly, but the offense went 1-2-3 from there. It would be the final hit of the game for Cincinnati.

The Pitching

Luis Castillo picked up right where he left off in his last start, and then some. The right-handed starter allowed just three hits spread out over 7.0 shutout innings with just one walk. He would also strike out 10 Pirates hitters along the way as he lowered his ERA to 3.03 on the season.

Those innings weren’t without stress as the game was scoreless on both sides until the bottom of the 5th inning, and over his final two innings pitched he was holding a 1-run lead. Archie Bradley took over for the 8th inning and he worked a perfect inning. That led to Raisel Iglesias taking the mound for the 9th hoping to pick up the save. Adam Frazier lined out to start the inning and Ke’Bryan Hayes followed up with a ground out. That set up a match up with Colin Moran. Advantage Iglesias, who picked up a game-ending strikeout on three pitches.

Notes worth noting

The Cardinals split their double header with the Brewers. That combined with the Reds win put the team into second place by .001 points of winning percentage. Both teams are 5.0 games back of the Cubs for 1st place. St. Louis has 15 games remaining this season, while Cincinnati has just 9 games remaining.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Chicago White Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds

Friday September 18th, 7:10pm ET


39 Responses

  1. Charlie Waffles

    Just picking nits, but Thursday is an off day. White Sox series starts Friday evening. I heard Piecoro tell Casali to have a good off day tomorrow in his post game interview.
    Good win and Castillo is in some kind of groove.

    • Doug Gray

      I was half right. Had the right date (the 18th), but the wrong day – because who even knows what day it even is anymore?

      • jim walker

        I’ve come to realize the most important thing about having a cell phone or computer connected to the internet is that they give me an accurate report of the day and time πŸ˜‰ unless of course the internet is kaput.

  2. Indy Red Man

    Dish doesn’t Reds/Fox Midwest in Indy so I haven’t seen many games, but I did catch the Bauer start in Chicago. He was consistently getting hitters in swing mode with 0-1 or turning 1-0 into 1-2 and then inducing alot of popups by spotting 93 slightly above the zone. Takes me back to Brantley talking about Castillo working up there and how he gets hurt by always keeping the ball “traditionally” down.

    I wonder is Castillo taking advantage of that? What is the big turnaround for him? He’s always had fantastic stuff!

    • jim walker

      Castillo seemed to be working his change up really low last night for swinging strikes on balls that were ultimately unreachable as opposed to starting it maybe waist to thigh high and having it finish still around the bottom of the strike zone vertically. This made it not really matter if it finished horizontally over the plate. Several pitches which might have been hit decently if they had been around the knees were instead clean misses.

    • jim walker

      Also, I think we should not look past that last night was the third straight start Casali has been paired with Castillo. This may be a better pairing than with Barnhart.

      Casali seems to try and run the game at a brisker pace. He isn’t into as many obvious waste pitches as table setters. With the quality of Castillo’s stuff but inclination to have some pitches get away from him and bloat his pitch count, this could be a significant factor in keeping Castillo on a winning edge.

      • VaRedsFan

        Good point with the Casali and the obvious waste pitches.

      • jim walker

        I’ve been wondering if the advent of 3 true outcome offense minimizes the cerebral aspects of pitching and pitch location/ sequencing. More and more guys are very obliging to getting themselves out if they are just shown a diet of pitches which look more hittable than they really are. Don’t give them a free ball in the count just to set up the next pitch. And above all else don’t walk anyone with the bases empty.

      • WB

        +100 on the waste pitches JW. Drives me nuts.

      • RojoBenjy


        the dumbing down of the hitter? May the cerebral pitcher again gain the upper hand?

      • Old-school

        Mark Sheldon at has an article up with Casali commenting on Castillo. The Castillo splits between Casali and Barnhart are striking. ERA under 2 vs over 5.

        Casali Makes the point that Castillo needs to pitch deep in games and that means throwing more strikes and keeping his pitch count down.

        Casali will be a good manager some day.

  3. RedsFan11

    Well they got the brooms out like I said on Monday. Delighted it was to sweep away the Pirates and not their own lockers. That said the Offense has got to come around in this series vs the Sox. One two run games ain’t gonna cut it.

    Getting 4 of next 6 should put them in a really great spot for the final series against a really tough Twins squad

  4. Amarillo

    Running through all the math and tiebreakers, I think we need to go 6-3 the rest of the way for playoffs. 30-30 I think we miss on tiebreakers. We are losing on tiebreakers to St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Miami. We are winning on breakers against the Giants. Brewers is up to the series coming up. If we finish 29-31 I think we are just out.

    • Amarillo

      This series was an absolute must sweep, or the season was basically over. So, extremely well done to the boys for actually pulling it off.

      • indydoug

        Perhaps not given that ST.L and Mil play the final 5 games of the season. If those games can go 3-2 Mil, that might give Reds some cushion.

      • JayTheRed

        With Cards lost tonight we moved into 2nd place spot. Can’t believe this is actually happening this way. Praying we can hold onto that 2nd place spot instead of getting in via the wild card.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    Definitely a must-have win. This team has shown us time and again a willingness to test the bottom, so at least there’s some comfort in knowing they won’t be totally out of it if the wheels fall off this weekend.

  6. JayDubz

    I count 12, not 15 games for St. Louis. Which is garbage. It’s a certainty that they won’t play the full complement of 60 games.

    • Amarillo

      They have 58 scheduled right now, and the 2 they are missing are against the Tigers. It’s probably better for us if they only play 58.

    • indydoug

      St. Louis actually has 13 games left–5 each with Pitt and Milwaukee & 3 with KC, with just 2 more DH’s.

  7. JayDubz

    What are the chances that the Reds reset their rotation to have Bauer pitch every 4 games down the stretch?

    • Still a Red

      Something to seriously consider! Got to get as much out of him as we can.

  8. GreatRedLegsFan

    The offense will have to do a little more against the White Sox to have some chances, specially since Castillo will miss it. Any news from Gray’s return?

    • JB

      Jim Day said the other night his return is expected Monday and he could pitch that day.

  9. Don

    Great time for Reds to be on hot streak, pitching is carrying team.

    Reds magic number over Cards is 13 for 2nd place.

    Reds magic number over Brewers is 12 for 2nd place.

    Reds needs lots of wins in last 9 and lots of loses by both Cards and Brewer over the next 10 days.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      Unfortunately, the schedule is so much easier for the Cards as compared with the Reds: Out of 13 remaining games, 8 are against Pirates and Royals and the other 5 against Brewers. Fangraphs has the Cards with 68.4% chance to make the playoffs against 51.7% by the Reds. It looks they have a better chance by entering as 7th or 8th seed.

      • Colorado Red

        Going to be hard, tough schedule down the road.

        Not sure what the tie breakers are for this season?
        Head to head?, Win Pct (no way the Cards play 60).
        With several DH’s could be tough also for the Cards/Crew.

        GO REDS.

      • Colorado Red

        Just a note, The Giants also have a really tough schedule also.
        Think we need to be 31 – 29 (or 6 – 3 as others have said).
        Not that easy. Almost need to sweep the Crew.

      • jim walker

        In is in; out is out. Beggar’s late to the dance can’t be too choosy.

      • jim walker


        My understand is that winning % is the primary decider for all spots. Record in division is secondary (at least for 2nd place, think for WC also but that is sort of off the wall isn’t it).

      • Westfester

        Cards schedule not as easy as you think. At least 2 more double headers and no off days to finish the season. Their last off day was 9/9. That pitching staff is running on fumes.

      • Don

        Playoff tie breakers for identical win %

        1) Head to Head
        2) Intradivision record.

        Cards have tie head to head over the Reds

        Reds currently have head to head over the Brewers
        Marlins and Phillies are ahead of Reds on Intradivision record
        Reds are ahead of Giants for Intradivision record.

  10. Matt WI

    I just want to do an emotion reading check- Do the players care about the games now? Is the heart there?

    Compared to last week when they were a bunch of softies who “didn’t care”? πŸ˜‰

  11. Don

    Pirates help on Thursday with win over Cards. Magic number is 12.

    It is great to have Reds in a playoff spot with 9 to go and have a magic number to clinch

    • JayTheRed

      Every Cardinals fan is going to cry foul if they don’t make it into the playoffs due to their hard makeup schedule.

      My response to said Cardinals fan; welcome to 2020.