Reds P Luis Castillo faces Brewers, looks to avoid first-inning woes

MLB Baseball

Two National League Central rivals continue their three-game series Tuesday night as the Cincinnati Reds look to build on their momentum against another hot team, the host Milwaukee Brewers.

The Reds opened their nine-game, three-city road trip with a 10-2 win Monday night over the Brewers, who had their seven-game home win streak snapped.

Leading the way of late has been veteran Joey Votto. He has driven in at least one run in six straight games since coming off the injured list with a broken thumb. He also has three homers over the past week and eight on the season. He drove in three in Monday night’s series-opening win.

Brett Anderson (2-4, 4.99 ERA) will make his 11th start of the season and third against the Reds. The left-hander last started last Wednesday in Cincinnati and took a 7-3 loss allowing five hits and five runs (four earned) over three innings. Overall, Anderson is 4-3 with a 4.76 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds.

The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo (2-9, 6.47). In his most recent start last Thursday, Milwaukee posted a 7-2 victory and pinned the loss on Castillo when the right-hander came back following a 37-minute rain delay after the fourth inning. Castillo left the game with two outs and two runners on base, leading 2-1 in the sixth, and became the victim of a blown save when both runners scored off reliever Lucas Sims.

Castillo’s 6-4 win on June 4 at St. Louis snapped his personal seven-game losing streak, the longest of his career. The win at St. Louis was his first since his second start of the season, an 11-4 win on April 7 against Pittsburgh. Castillo’s troubles have started early in games, as he has posted a 13.15 ERA in the first inning and 4.76 after the first. His 22 runs allowed — 19 earned — in the first inning are both major league highs.

Over the first two months of the season, the Reds have had the best 1-2 punch in baseball as Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos have led the majors in batting and OPS. On Monday, both players ranked in the top three of outfielders receiving All-Star votes in early voting.

“Just to be in the conversation is very mind-boggling to me,” Winker said. “It’s all very humbling. It’s just very, very cool.”

Castellanos (11 percent) is second in National League voting while Winker (nine percent) is third.

“It would be a very cool memory to give my mom, my dad, my son and my wife,” Castellanos said of landing an All-Star spot in Colorado in July. “I’d love to to be able to give them that. That would be really cool.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday that Kolten Wong (left oblique) is making good progress and could join the team when the Brewers head to Colorado to start a six-game road trip on June 17. Wong, who was eligible to be activated Monday, started hitting off a tee on June 10, and he took batting practice on the field for the first time on Monday.

“He’s been hitting in the cage, but (Monday) was the first day he was on the field, so that’s a good sign,” Counsell said. “Day one on the field, we’ll progress and do a very similar thing (Tuesday) and then kind of see where we’re at.”

–Field Level Media

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