The Cincinnati Reds will try to snap their string of five straight series losses when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday.
The Reds (75-67) won 4-2 in the opener of this three-game set Friday at Busch Stadium and they can clinch a series victory with a win.
The reeling Cardinals (71-69) have lost five of their last seven games.
“We have to win these games,” Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “We have to take care of home field. We really haven’t done that this year. We have a chance tomorrow and a chance Sunday. We just have to continue to fight, find a way, and hopefully it turns.”
The Reds will start Luis Castillo (7-15, 4.20 ERA), who allowed just one earned run over six innings in a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in his last start.
Castillo was 1-8 with a 7.22 ERA in his first 11 starts this season. Somehow he stayed upbeat through that slump. The right-hander has met the quality start metric in each of his last five starts and has posted a 2.77 ERA in 18 starts since the beginning of June.
“I think his positive nature, his ability to smile, his ability to make other people feel good is a great gift,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I think that’s helped him through any times he’s had where he has been challenged.”
Castillo is 2-3 with a 5.60 ERA in five starts against the Cardinals this season. Those numbers were skewed by his 10 runs allowed (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks in an 11-6 loss to the Cardinals on April 1.
He allowed just five runs in 19 innings in his last three starts against St. Louis. Castillo is 6-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 16 career starts against the Redbirds.
Dylan Carlson (5-for-14, double, homer, four RBIs), Harrison Bader (4-for-12, double, RBI), Tommy Edman (7-for-23, two walks, two doubles) and Paul Goldschmidt (9-for-34, double, three homers, eight RBIs) have been productive against Castillo.
The Cardinals will start righty Miles Mikolas (0-2, 5.06), who is winless in his four starts since returning from the injured list. He struggled in his Sept. 1 start against the Reds, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk in three innings.
Mikolas is 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 11 career outings against the Reds, including nine starts. Eugenio Suarez (6-for-11, double, two homers, three RBIs), Nick Castellanos (3-for-6, homer) and Tucker Barnhart (4-for-12, homer, two RBIs) have fared well against him.
Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer opened the series on the paternity list. Jose Barrero arrived from Triple-A Louisville to replace him and he delivered the decisive RBI double Friday night.
“He’s been staying ready,” Bell said. “Every opportunity we get to see Jose play and get him more experience here is really important for him. We’ve been anxious to get him into our lineup and let him play more.”
Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa, who had supplanted Paul DeJong as the starter, missed the last two games with a sore left wrist.
“We feel like it’s day-to-day,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.
–Field Level Media