The Cincinnati Reds hope the most recent outing by Luis Castillo was just a blip on the radar.
Castillo is scheduled to get back on the mound when the Reds visit the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in the middle game of their three-game series.
The Reds won the series opener 6-1 on Friday behind seven shutout innings from right-hander Tyler Mahle.
Castillo will have a tough act to follow, but the trajectory of his five-year major league career shows anything can happen when the right-hander is on the mound.
Castillo was coming off his best month of the season when he hit a wall in his last outing on Monday, giving up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 9-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
The performance was reminiscent of some duds Castillo delivered while going 1-8 through the first two months of this season with a 7.22 ERA.
Reds manager David Bell cautioned that Castillo wasn’t as ineffective as the numbers indicated in his last outing.
“To be super critical, maybe the command was off a little bit, and against any team we play, if your command is off a little bit, sometimes you get in trouble,” Bell said. “I wouldn’t put any more on it than that. He’s healthy, he looks good, and he’ll be back out there (Saturday).”
Castillo (6-11, 4.53 ERA) went 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in six starts from July 6 to Aug. 4, performances that looked more like his 2019 season, when he went 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA during the first half and was selected to his only All-Star team.
He ultimately finished 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA that season.
He had a slow start to the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season as well, losing his first five decisions before finding his groove and going 4-1 with 2.20 ERA over the final month.
Castillo has made two starts against the Phillies in his MLB career and is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA
The Phillies plan to send veteran left-hander Matt Moore to the mound.
After playing in Japan last season and signing a one-year, $3 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason, Moore (1-3, 6.79 ERA) has bounced in and out of the starting rotation with mostly poor results.
He’s getting another opportunity as a starter after Chase Anderson (triceps) was put on the injured list last weekend.
Moore most recently entered in relief with the Phillies trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 in the sixth inning on Tuesday. He gave up two doubles and a single while recording only one out and all three runners scored in the 5-0 loss.
Moore has had some decent stretches this season, however.
He was solid out of the bullpen in May before posting a respectable 3.06 ERA in four straight starts. Moore didn’t win any of those games, but the Phillies won them all. He got hammered in his final two outings in July, however, landing him back in the bullpen.
“It’s been a pretty tough go most of the year for me,” Moore said. “To be on a first-place team like this, and still have a chance to get out there and try some things, I couldn’t ask for more.”
Moore has made one appearance against the Reds in his 11-year MLB career. He held them to one run in 7 1/3 innings of a 3-1 victory on May 13, 2017, when he was with the San Francisco Giants.
–Field Level Media