Reds turn to rookie Tony Santillan in finale vs. Rockies

MLB

The Reds are looking to head out on their nine-game road trip with momentum, while the Colorado Rockies are just looking to stop the bleeding when the two teams meet Sunday in the finale of a three-weekend series in Cincinnati.

The Reds are turning to 24-year-old Tony Santillan, who will make his major league debut in a spot start. Santillan is being called up from Triple-A Louisville to take the place of right-hander Sonny Gray, who went on the 10-day injured list earlier in the week after tweaking his right groin in Tuesday’s start against Milwaukee.

Santillan was Cincinnati’s second-round pick in the 2015 draft out of Seguin High School in Arlington, Texas. Santillan will become the fourth Reds player to make his big-league debut this season, joining second baseman Jonathan India and right-handers Ryan Hendrix and Vladimir Gutierrez.

In six starts for Triple-A Louisville, Santillan posted a 1-3 record with a 2.51 ERA. In 32 1/3 innings, he allowed 23 hits, 12 walks, and struck out 45. Santillan began the 2021 season rated by mlb.com as the ninth-best prospect in the organization, three years after being named the Reds’ minor league pitcher of the year.

The Rockies counter with 26-year-old right-hander Antonio Senzatela (2-6, 4.62 ERA), who is slated for his 13th start of the season and fifth on the road. In his last start, Senzatela allowed four runs over six innings in a loss at Miami, with one walk and a career-best eight strikeouts.

“Every pitch was working,” Senzatela said. “I had a really good command on my slider. Every time I tried to throw it, [the slider] was in a good place.”

“He had a good slider. He had a good fastball with velocity,” Rockies manager Bud Black added.

Senzatela faced Cincinnati on May 16 in Denver and departed after seven innings with a 6-1 lead. But the bullpen imploded, allowing six runs over the final two innings as the Reds won, 7-6. In three career starts against the Reds, Senzatela is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.

The Rockies have lost three in a row and six of their last eight games.

A win Sunday would give the Reds a series sweep and finish their homestand at 4-2. They then head out on a nine-game road trip through Milwaukee, San Diego and Minnesota.

The Reds on Saturday reached .500 (31-31) for the first time since May 16 (19-19). A win Sunday would put them over .500 for the first time since April 21, when they were 9-8.

The Reds have scored 10 runs or more in 10 games this season, although Saturday marked the first time they did so without benefit of a home run.

“We’ll take them any way we can get them,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Sometimes it’s more impressive when you don’t hit home runs.”

Nick Castellanos went 2-for-5 Saturday to raise his major league-leading average to .362. Since the end of his 21-game hitting streak on June 6 in St. Louis, Castellanos has strung together five straight games with an extra-base hit.

Before Saturday’s game, Bell indicated the injured Mike Moustakas could join team on the road trip. Moustakas has not played since May 18 with a right heel contusion. He began running the bases on Friday, and on Saturday he was active in the infield.

–Field Level Media

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