Sometimes it’s the stars of the team who get the job done and on Saturday night in Cincinnati that’s exactly what happened as Luis Castillo struck out nine batters in seven innings and Jesse Winker homered and drove in four runs as the Reds picked up their 6th straight win over the Cardinals. Cincinnati has now won the series against St. Louis and they can go for the sweep tomorrow.

Final R H E
St. Louis Cardinals (49-50)
3 8 0
Cincinnati Reds (51-47) 5 9 3
W: Castillo (4-10) L: Woodford (2-2) SV: Hembree (8)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Offense

The Reds got their offense started in the 1st inning when Jonathan India walked and Jesse Winker and Tyler Naquin singled to load the bases with one out, but two fly outs left the bases stranded.

In the second inning things went better. Shogo Akiyama singled with one out. Jonathan India singled later on in the inning with two outs and that set up Jesse Winker for a 2-run double that put the Reds in the lead.

Cincinnati extended their lead in the 5th when Joey Votto went the opposite way for a 1st-row homer into the left field seats to make it 3-1. It was the 7th inning when the Reds pushed two more across and the names were familiar. Jonathan India led off with a single and Jesse Winker went deep for his 20th home run of the season to make it 5-1. Those two runs proved to be key as the Cardinals could get two runs in the 8th inning. But five was enough for the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.

The Pitching

After a relatively easy 1st inning, things went south in the 2nd inning for Luis Castillo – but it wasn’t his fault. Errors on the first two plays of the inning led to the Cardinals eventually getting on the board when Harrison Bader singled into left field on a ground ball to put St. Louis up 1-0.

In the 4th inning the Cardinals threatened when back-to-back hits with one out put runners on 2nd and 3rd, but Luis Castillo worked his way out of it. That was the last time that St. Louis really put the pressure on the Reds starter. Well, sort of. With two outs in the 7th inning and a runner on first Dylan Carlson crushed a ball towards the power stacks, but Shogo Akiyama made a running, jumping catch at the wall to rob him of extra-base hits to end the inning. Castillo allowed just four hits over the first 7.0 innings of the game while striking out nine batters.

In the 8th inning the Reds turned the game over to the bullpen, bringing in Brad Brach. Back-to-back doubles to begin the inning led to a Cardinals run to cut the Cincinnati lead to 5-2. A 1-out single by Paul DeJong brought in another run and made it 5-3. Edmundo Sosa singled to follow to put the tying run on the bases. But a line out to Eugenio Suárez in what originally seemed to be a double play to end the inning, but a challenge overturned the second out. Brach then followed by walking Andrew Knizner to load the bases. It was the final batter he’d face as Sean Doolittle was brought on. The Cardinals sent right-handed pinch hitter to Jose Rondon. It took reaching a full count, but Rondon popped up to Kyle Farmer to end the inning and the Reds remained ahead but their lead was halved to 5-3.

Heath Hembree came out to try and close the game out in the 9th. He was set to face the top of the Cardinals order and attempt to hold onto a 2-run lead. Dylan Carlson popped out in foul territory to start the inning. Paul Goldschmidt hit the ball a little bit further but the result was the same – a fly out. That brought Nolan Arenado to the plate and it was more of the same as Hembree got him to fly out to Tyler Naquin in right and end the game.

Notes Worth Noting

Luis Castillo’s ERA in his last 10 starts, dating back to the beginning of June, is now sitting at 1.56. For the season it’s now down to 4.12.

Heath Hembree now has 8 saves, which leads the team, just as we all thought would be the case.

The Cardinals are now a game below .500.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

St. Louis Cardinals vs Cincinnati Reds

Sunday July 24, 1:10pm ET

Johan Oviedo (0-5, 4.81 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (2-5, 3.65 ERA)

71 Responses

  1. Keith B Taylor

    I’m 62 my memories go back to 1965 reds first game at Crosley, but as much as I love this teams fight ,I can’t take anymore of this bullpen. Morata the right hander and Diehl the lefty can’t possibly be worse than some of these guys. Until the 3 get back tell Santallian just throw as hard as you can , for now he isn’t a starter, looked great other game, bring up those 2 from minors . I’ve always my Reds no matter the record, but even the worst Reds team never made as mad as I get watching this bullpen implode every nite

    • Dennis Westrick

      I feel your pain Keith! I’m 68 and have been an avid fan of the Reds since I was 8 years old and the Reds played the Yankees in the 1961 World Series! That’s when my love of the Reds began as well as my hate of the Yankees! I too get extremely frustrated with Bell’s decisions, the TOOTBLANs and the apparent indifference by the FO to make improvements to this 2021 version of the Reds!

    • Steven Ross

      I agree Keith. The second Brach comes in, I cringe. More often than not, I’ll turn the channel for a few minutes because I know what’s going to happen. However, I do have to give Hembree his props. With Antone and Sims out, he’s proven to be much better as the closer than set up man. Never expected it.

      Off topic: once again, Larkin refers to the Reds lack of speed in Bell’s lineups. Said you need to utilize Shogo’s abilities to get on base. He beat out a hot shot grounder to SS to set up Winker’s double. Never happens if he doesn’t bust it down the line.

  2. Arthur

    Castillo was terrific tonight. I can’t remember a pitcher looking so bad early in the season, and then, like flipping a light switch, he becomes almost unhittable.

    Winker also had some nice ABs which cause me to believe his slump is in the rear view mirror.

    But for me, the star of the game was Shogo. He beat out an infield hit to start a rally, and his catch in the 7th saved the game. (At the time, the Reds were up only 3-1). He hasn’t done too much offensively, but he still hustles and plays above average defense. I can live with the low batting average when he contributes in other meaningful ways. Without him in CF tonight, Reds don’t win that game.

    • Bet on Red

      Agreed, understands why he has lost playing time but doesn’t let it affect his play

    • JayTheRed

      Teams are apparently calling the Reds according to about Castillo…. I don’t want to see him go he is my favorite starter, plus he is controlled for 2 more full seasons. With the SP market super thin and with his 2 years plus left and he is not crazy expensive I would say the Reds would have to be blown away by a deal to consider it.

      Again I hope he stays.

      • Bet on Red

        Dont see it unless it is the Latos trade in reverse. Dude is that good. We will see.

    • Gary Fissel

      The Reds’ players continually develop as their careers move on. Castillo is obviously pitching with greater confidence in his pitching ability. I am intrigued by learning today that Derek Johnson (Reds pitching coach) showed Vladimir Gutierrez how to pitch a sinker that he previously tried but it created a blister on his hand. Evidently this sinker that Johnson showed him a different way to hold the sinker and it has more movement. Having good coaches and players are both very important.

  3. Old-school

    Some RLN writers hate Jesse winker

    Hes only an All Star

    He has-no power yet he leads the team in Hr with 20

    He hits
    He gets on base
    He hits for power
    And oh no he homered off a lefty in a game that mattered against a st louis lefty. Dang

    What to do with the RLN narrative that Jesse winker isnt one of the top 10 hitters on the team? Phil Ervin is better. That was a big narrative last year

    What to do with the RLN narrative that Winker had a good month in 2020 and that was all he was? That was RLN regular contributor statement last year

    Theres still time to hope Winker isnt part of this team

    Good luck

      • Old-school

        Tom Mitsoff and Jim Walker are regular winker bashers

        Jim claimed Winker wasnt even in the top 10 of reds position players after last year . Phil Ervin was better
        Tom summarized Winkers reds career last year as one lucky month in 2020

        Both can clarify

      • Doug Gray

        You do understand that things can and do change, right?

        Jesse Winker is a very different player today than he was a year ago, than he was a year before that, too.

      • Old-school

        Elite prospects/players need to play every day and Winker is playing every day finally and his elite hit tool is showing. India’s breakthrough is in large part because he is playing every day regardless of an error or a cool streak like MAy or a handedness matchup.

        When Senzel comes back- he needs to be playing every day as well. These young players were drafted where they were for reasons- their skills and the trajectory of those skills translate at the MLB level. Stay healthy and play everyday and be patient.

      • Doug Gray

        Winker’s biggest detractors have constantly said he shouldn’t play against left handed pitchers. What about his .186/.293/.279 line this season do you believe shows that it’s you and not them that is winning this argument?

      • Jim Walker

        I’ll be glad to clarify. My recollection is that most if not all the comments I made questioning Winker and putting him in a lesser light than Phil Ervin were made in 2019 when the pair were sharing left field in a platoon situation.

        Let’s start by looking at which guy was the more “elite prospect” from the get go. Winker was chosen #49 overall in 2012. Ervin was chosen #27 overall in 2013. So, a year apart, Ervin was chosen the equivalent of ~2/3 of a round ahead of Winker.

        The irony here today is that the argument I was making in 2019 was that Ervin should be given more opportunity even if it meant at the expense of Winker’s playing time because Ervin was stronger on his side of the platoon (Ervin:1.038 OPS vs Winker: .887 OPS) and Ervin’s weaker side performance was .658 OPS versus Winker’s weakside performance of .443 OPS. Ervin was also clearly the better defender and base runner while Winker had issues staying healthy and on the field over multiple seasons.

        At that time, it also appeared that Bell was beginning to favor Ervin by leaving him in games to face RH pitching while pulling Winker the 1st time in a game he might have to face a LH pitcher.

        But the real story here is that Winker went out in the off season between 2020-2021 and did what he probably should have done years ago. He recognized his weaknesses and did the hard physical work to strengthen his core and become the best athlete he could be. He has specifically mentioned better running and better defense as his goals.

        However, just to look at his body, it is clear he is in much better condition all around. Now he and the team are reaping the rewards of that off season work. His “lost” slugging power has reappeared with a vengeance. His hit tool is now an engine that has been dropped into a higher performance chassis.

        I am nothing but happy for Winker and the team.

    • Big Dan

      The write up mentioned Winker 3 or more times discussing “offense”— try again

    • L Jones

      What a strange comment in an article titled “Castillo and Winker lead the Reds…” and the first sentence literally calls him a star and says he “got the job done” while touting his great night at the plate.

    • Optimist

      Not going to the archives, but self-deprecation is a truly old-school trait. Need more of it nowadays.

    • Corey

      I’m really sorry you feel that way. Let me know if you want to talk about it.

    • west larry

      I haven’t seen any writers for RLN belittle or bad mouth Winker. Who are you talking about?

    • VaRedsFan

      This dude likes to take comments made about 1 play in 1 game and see it as a slight about Winker’s season and/or career.

  4. Tim

    Castillo looks great right now. What a great example of a pro figuring it out and fixing it. It sure is nice to have a leadoff man getting on base half the time. India is the underrated spark on this team.

  5. Arthur

    India is making a compelling case for Rookie of the Year. He plays the game the way it should be played. He gets on base, puts the ball in play, plays solid defense, and doesn’t complain or showboat. It is hard to believe he just learned how to play second base, and that he made his major league debut this season.

    If I recall correctly, he is the first Reds rookie to make his major league debut at second base on Opening Day since some guy named Peter Rose. That guy turned out to be a pretty fair ball player.

    • Tim

      I love how he plays the game. Wouldn’t it be fun to have another Charlie Hustle in the game?

      • TR

        Definitely a similarity. India has a presence that reminds me of Pete Rose.

    • Greenfield Red

      I’m not watching ROY candidates closely. Is there anyone who would be considered his competition for ROY?

      His numbers are increasing as the year moves forward. That seems to be somewhat unusual.

      • LGR

        There’s a pitcher for the Marlins who I’d say is the closest. I think he just went on the 10 day IL though. Last name Rogers.

      • VaRedsFan

        As of 7/15

        Trevor Rogers Even
        Ian Anderson +600
        Ke’Bryan Hayes +650 (was preseason favorite)
        Jonathan India +700
        Jazz Chisholm +750
        Dylan Carlson +800

      • JB

        Chisolm is falling. Carlson on the Cardinals is a threat. Right now I would put India as the front runner.

  6. Indy Red Man

    The Reds have a chance to be really good in the next few years! Pitt and the Cubs are both going to be 90 game losers (or close) for a few years.

    Cards paying Arenado $35/mil to be a B- hitter that grounds into a ton of doubleplays

    Yelich getting $26/mil or whatever to hit 8-10 hrs (0-4 with 3 Ks tonite)

    I like the Reds chances, but they need to make Nick a nice offer! Also develop Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft! Hopefully some helpful innings out of them next year! If they had an average pen this year then they’re atleast 56-42 and on pace for 92 wins. The universal DH will help the Reds more then most as well.

    • Indy Red Man

      Milw also has about $30 mil tied up with Cain and Jackie Bradley Jr. next year. Cain will be 36. Naquin is better then they are.

    • Jim Walker

      If the Reds win Sunday, that picks them up a game on my All Star break “2nd half” projection which bumps that projection to 89 wins on the season. And there is a reasonable amount of room for them to pick up those other 3 wins against the projection and make 92.

    • DaveCT

      A rotation on Castillo, Greene, Mahke, Miley, Lodolo, with Antone and Ashcrost kicking in the door.

  7. TR

    It looked like the game could get away in the eighth. Krall deserves credit for bringing over Heath Hembree.

    • Jim Walker

      No doubt. I couldn’t believe they left Brach out there that long. Maybe neither Hendrix nor Santillan were available?

    • Jack

      I guess he deserves credit. Looks like his strategy was simply to claim every available reliever off the waiver wire and hope one hits . In fairness that strategy is dictated by ownership refusing to spend.

  8. Stoney

    Great performance by Castillo. He has really come around. Nice to see Winker and Votto stepping up in Nicks absence. Wouldn’t mind seeing either Lopez or Schrock at third on Sunday. Sweep the birds again!!

  9. Bet on Red

    Castillo about to run off back to back to back forever wins. Reds are still in this.

  10. TR

    The crowd of 33,500 is proof that this Red’s team, with all it’s deficiencies, has caught on with the fans.

  11. RedsGettingBetter

    Great , huge and suffered (again) win…It seems the ownership/FO are waiting the team loses a lot of games in this time of the season to say the Reds have no chance so for that reason they did not take any action at the trade deadline or even could sell some players with justification…but never land a reliever, closer or SS… No spending money, brothers…

  12. Brennan

    Can anyone explain why Brach wasn’t pulled after facing a third batter? Every batter he faced hit him extremely hard (I lost count but I think it was 7 or 8 hard contacts in a row) and we got lucky that line drive was hit directly at Suarez otherwise it had the makings of a 2-run double.

    Brach just didn’t seem to have it against the red birds and with less than 2 innings left, why not go to the bullpen again ASAP?

    • Doug Gray

      Probably because the plan wasn’t “only face 3 batters” so it took time to get someone else loose.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Brach didn’t complete the ONE INNING PER RELIEF PITCHER mantra of Bell.

  13. Hotto4Votto

    Love the turnaround by Castillo this season. He’s been phenomenal and one of the reasons the Reds are in the position they are in.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Reds need to relocate to Florida! Castillo is hot when & where it’s hot!

      • Scott C

        I have said all along, Castillo does not pitch well in cold weather. Look at his starts early this season and the temperature at game time. I don’t know if it is a mental thing or if he just can’t get some feel on the ball when it is cold but it has been that way not only this year but in the past as well.

    • VaRedsFan

      The key (as Larkin noted) was for him to start pitching inside.

  14. Mlong

    I would have let Castillo start the 8th since the Cardinals best bats were due up. I don’t understand the strict adherence to this 100 pitch threshold or the multiple times thru the order thing. The game was a lot more interesting when it wasn’t so beholden to the quants. Unless Castillo told Bell he was out of gas, I would have at least let him start the 8th. As good as he was throwing. Same with Mahle the night before. The two pitches he threw to get the last two outs where the best ones he threw all night. With the bullpen the way it is especially with the bridge guys, sometimes it seems that the starter is the best choice.

  15. JB

    I love the slow take it easy approach that Hembree takes on the mound. Right now its Heath Hembree’s world and we can live in it.

    • RedsGettingBetter

      When Antone, Sims and eventually Lorenzen return ocurr, Hembree is gonna be a very good 6th-7th choice.

  16. Mark A Verticchio

    Saw the line up for today, why in the world is Freeman playing instead of Schrock? I try to support Bell but it gets harder everyday. Last night he left a pitcher who didn’t have it throw to 7 batters, thankfully Doolittle and Hembre bailed him out.

    • LDS

      Schlock and Lopez are both better choices. Maybe this is Freeman’s last hurrah before being sent down or DFA’d. But it certainly isn’t looking out for the team or player development.

    • LDS

      Maybe they are trying to boost his trade profile heading into the trade deadline. Everyone wants a 34 year old utility player that’s batting .200 and has no power. Or, as is often the case, it’s Bell’s affinity for mediocre players in their mid-30s. Hey, but at least Suarez is on the bench.

    • RedAlert

      Typical Bell move – mind boggling – makes no sense just like the majority of moves he makes . ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS !!!

      Not a major league manager – NOT !!!!

    • MBS

      We’re arguing which bench piece is the better one to start. I’d like Lopez, but I doubt there is an appreciable difference between Schrock, Freeman, or Lopez. The real help will be when Senzel and Moustakes return.

    • RedsGettingBetter

      Freeman starting today is very hard to understand. This is Heineman part II… It seems Bell likes to weak the line-up as much as possible… Sure Bell keeps Schrock and Lopez for pinch-hitting later and prefers give more ABs to a poor hitter like Freeman so by the way he is replacing Geno, then you would want a better option than Freeman obviously but….

  17. burtgummer01

    I’m not a Bell lover or hater.But most people here thru their own ignorance ignore the fact that the Reds were predicted to battle Pittsburgh for last place but here they are battling for first with a bullpen full of scrap heap players.
    It’ll be hilarious here when Bell is brought back

    • RedAlert

      Worst move they could ever make – but they probably will . Ain’t winning nothing with this guy .

    • Jim t

      Want to be managers drive up the traffic on the site. Most haven’t managed a little team. Fact is the manager of this team has over achieved with injuries and the hand he has been dealt.

      • Mlong

        Jimt – you are absolutely correct rewant to be managers. However, what is then rationale for Freeman in the lineup today? Does he give us the best chance to win?

      • Jim t

        Not having all the information to make that decision I defer to the present staff. They are not incompetent as their record indicates. They are getting much more then I ever expected out of this team. I root for who the manager puts on the field. I don’t try to find fault with every decision he makes SS if I could do a better job.

  18. Mark A Verticchio

    I really believe this team is 51-47 in spite of Bell not because of him and I think a majority feels the same way, just an opinion.

    • burtgummer01

      It’s certainly your choice to go thru life with blinders on

  19. burtgummer01

    Well said,These folks who just come here to cry about something are bordering trolling and I wish Doug would start putting the hammer down

  20. Mark A Verticchio

    People who give their opinion about the front office or Bell have the right to do so, it comes with the territory.