Luis Castillo pitched perhaps his best game of the year, spinning seven shutout innings as the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, at Great American Ball Park.

Final R H E
Atlanta Braves (36-40) 1 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (38-37)
4 6 0
W: Castillo (3-10) L: Anderson (5-4)  SV: Garrett (5)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

A season-high home crowd of 34,671 enjoyed a briskly played game by 2021 standards, finishing in a tidy 2 hours and 35 minutes. The victory puts Cincinnati once again over the .500 mark, and for the moment within 4.5 games of first-place Milwaukee. The Brewers’ game vs. Colorado was still in progress as this game recap was posted. Second-place Chicago plays tonight at Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

The Offense

Jesse Winker got the Reds out to an early lead with a first-inning solo shot:

Two-out RBI hits in the bottom of the third by Nick Castellanos …

… and Joey Votto put the home team up 3-0.

Tyler Stephenson’s pinch-hit solo shot in the bottom of the eighth boosted the Cincinnati lead back to three after the Braves had put a run on the board in the top of the inning. The Reds were efficient with their six-hit attack.

The Pitching

What can you say about Castillo? He has returned to his stellar form of the past: 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts in 106 pitches. The eye test shows that the quick dip that his changeup had in the past when he was at his best has returned. TV analyst Barry Larkin made a very valid observation that Castillo has regained command of the inside portion of the plate against right-handed batters. Over five June starts, Castillo has allowed six earned runs (and only one home run!) over 31.2 innings, a 1.71 ERA.

And don’t look now, but Brad Brach has been scored upon in only four of 16 appearances. It was very, very interesting that with Atlanta’s top two left-handed bats leading off the top of the eighth inning, Manager David Bell decided to bring in the righthanded Brach. Two walks were a problem, but Brach struck out William Contreras to end the inning with only one run scored and two runners left on base.

Amir Garrett retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save, and he has the opportunity to capture the closer role that he desperately wants but so far has failed to earn. With both Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims now out for undetermined periods of time, the ongoing open audition for positions and roles in the bullpen will likely continue indefinitely. Of the current crew, Brach is, to me, the most reliable. The pecking order seems to change on a daily basis, and that too will likely continue.

Notes Worth Noting

It was refreshing to see the Reds playing good defense. In the top of the seventh with two out and a Braves runner on first, Contreras smoked a Castillo pitch to right field. Castellanos started a very impressive inning-ending out:

Winker left the lineup mid-game after a groundout. According to TV analyst Jim Day, Winker went immediately to the clubhouse after the groundout. Later in the game, the TV broadcasters reported that Winker had left with a right-hip contusion, apparently suffered when he tried to make a diving catch in left field.

In a post-game interview, Winker said, “I am fine.” He added that he believes there is a chance it will feel well enough Sunday for him to be able to play.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, June 27, 1:10 p.m. ET

TBA vs Tyler Mahle (7-2, 3.56 ERA)

24 Responses

  1. LDS

    Best compensation for a depleted bullpen that one could ask for – a strong starter performance. Let’s hope the trend continues.

  2. Melvin

    Yes Tom. Refreshing defense. it still matters. 🙂

  3. Roger Garrett

    Complete team win today in all phases.

  4. Klugo

    It’s hard to believe because they’ve already been so productive , but the Reds batters seem to actually be starting to surge again. That should spell more trouble for opponents. Go Reds!

  5. Indy Red Man

    Big crowd and big strike zone! Luis gave up some rockets, but he pounded the zone and put up zeroes. Thats all that matters! AG threw strikes too.

    Stephenson 16-49 (.327) 5 doubles & 3 hrs in June! Tucker has been great and have a fantastic year defensively, but can’t they start TS and attempt to put up a lead then go to TB late for defense? Stephenson is far-n-away a bigger threat!

    Lastly, its really going to hurt if Wink goes on IL. Hopefully it will just be a day or two, but I always like when AA gets a shot. He can really go get it in the OF and has a big arm. He can run. Alot to like with him if he makes contact!

  6. Old-school

    Very good baseball game

    Go reds

  7. MBS

    The resurgence of Castillo with 7 innings is huge! Garrett is coming up big for the Reds also!

  8. RedsMonk65

    Unfortunately, the Brewers are exhibiting some late-inning heroics again today. Really beginning to dislike them. Don’t they know they need to lose when we win—and also lose when we lose?

    • TR

      A lot of games coming up soon against the Brewers. Four leading up to the All Star break and three following the break.

    • Earmbrister

      To summarize: the Brewers need to lose.

  9. RojoB

    Nice job by all, except Laz Diaz lol

  10. ClevelandRedsFan

    Winker said he was fine after the game. He may even start tomorrow.

  11. Frankie Tomatoes

    Had a blast at the game today! Great atmosphere with nearly a sell out crowd and the weather was not bad either. Hopefully The Wink is ok and can be back tomorrow

    • Seattle77

      Agreed on all counts! Hotter than blue blazes in the sun, but the breeze was nice and (cliche alert!) the atmosphere was electric. Offense is fun, but the roar after the India relay was the best of the game. Go Redlegs!

  12. Mark Moore

    Happy outcome for all of us a RLN. Let’s close it out tomorrow.

  13. ClevelandRedsFan

    Mark Sheldon wrote about spin rates and Castillo’s. I wonder if foreign substance use is team-wide or individual-based. If it’s team-wide, then it seems like Reds were not users. Anyone have any details on other teams’ spin rates over the time frame?

    “During a week where spin rates have dropped league wide as pitchers adjust to a crackdown on grip-enhancers, Castillo saw an increase. His changeup averaged 1,990 RPM, slightly above his season average of 1,981, while his slider average was at 2,510 RPM — up from its season average of 2,427. His sinker spin was 2,186 RPM, up from 2,162.”

    • Tomn

      The discussion about spin rates in baseball make my head spin.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s generally a team wide thing, but like everything, not everyone is doing it. Just an overwhelming majority of players.

      Single game swings in spin rate aren’t really indicative of much. We see and have seen those things fluctuate for years. There are more than a few reasons that it can and does happen and it’s not always about the grip enhancement (though sometimes it very much is).

  14. Indy Red Man

    The Cubs lost so atleast we gained a game on them.

    They’re getting Sonny/Hoffman back shortly so I’d dfa Perez/Doolittle.

    I tell you a guy I’d really like to pickup is Garrett Hampson with the Rockies. He hasn’t been starting lately, but maybe they’re just waiting to deal Story somewhere? He’s more of a 2B type, but he can play SS and LF/CF. He’s got some pop with 14 doubles, 5 triples, 6 hrs, and he’s one of the fastest guys in the NL with 12 steals. He’d be a nice upgrade over Farmer obviously and could hold the fort until they figure out who they want for SS long term. How long can they keep going with Farmer? He’s got a .597 ops and he’s never played every day like this?

  15. GreatRedLegsFan

    Reds have been able so far to hover the .500 waters, but they’re now in a very tight rope with so many pitchers in the IL. As mentioned above, Gray and Hoffman are close to return, but with Lorenzen, Antone and Sims at least one month away it’s time to look for another option or two.

  16. Reddawg2012

    I know the bullpen is a complete disaster, especially with the recent injuries. But having Luis back to normal just makes me feel so much better about everything. Hopefully the offense and starting pitching can keep us afloat until Antone/Sims/Lonenzen get back.

  17. tim

    if castillo winds up over .500 after being 2-10 and the other starters continue as they have, the reds win the division.

    • Reaganspad

      I was thinking the same thing Tim