Reds P Castillo eager to face Tigers

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The new additions for the Cincinnati Reds already have made their presence felt.

After Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos starred in the season opener, the Reds will look to build on that strong initial performance when they continue their weekend home set against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Moustakas, who came from Milwaukee as a free agent, clubbed a two-run homer to highlight a three-hit, four-RBI Friday night during a 7-1 victory in his Cincinnati debut. Castellanos, who also signed as a free agent, went 1 for 2 with a double, was hit by a pitch to bring home a run and also walked as the Reds dominated to open a season filled with lofty expectations.

Moustakas and Castellanos, who played for both Detroit and the Chicago Cubs in 2019, combined for 62 home runs last season.

“This is probably one of the better teams I’ve been on in a while,” Castellanos told the Reds’ official website. “I think that we have more established players on this team that have a common goal to win. And, I think that makes the game more fun.”

Cincinnati, which got nine strikeouts and one run allowed over six innings from Sonny Gray in the opener, turns to 2019 All-Star Luis Castillo on Saturday. Following a strong September of 2018 (3-1, 1.09 ERA in five starts), Castillo enjoyed the best of his three major league seasons to date last year.

In 32 starts, the right-hander went 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA and made his first All-Star team. He also ranked among the MLB leaders with a .202 opponents batting average and 226 strikeouts. Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter a year ago, Castillo seems eager to get back on the mound this weekend.

“I feel really good,” Castillo said. “I’m happy we’re getting back to baseball and we’re getting to play.”

This will be Castillo’s first appearance against Detroit, a 114-loss team from a year ago that managed only three hits on Friday. C.J. Cron’s deep, fourth-inning homer was the offensive highlight for Detroit.

Veteran Ivan Nova will make his debut for the Tigers on Saturday. The right-hander, who went 11-12 with a 4.72 ERA through 34 starts last season for the Chicago White Sox, signed with Detroit on a one-year deal in January. The 33-year-old Nova begins his 11th season and has won at least 11 games in three of his past four campaigns.

“I’m good, I’m healthy. I’m strong,” Nova told the Tigers’ official website.

“I think I’ve changed a lot of things that I was doing (earlier) in my career. … I always say I’m the guy that wants to be out there every five days.”

Nova, though, is just 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA in seven career starts at Cincinnati’s hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. He last pitched there in 2018.

The Reds’ Freddy Galvis went 1 for 4 on Friday, but is 9 for 17 versus Nova. Castellanos is 6 for 14 with three extra-base hits against him. Teammate Joey Votto, who homered on Friday night, is a career .233 hitter when opposing Nova.

–Field Level Media

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