The Cincinnati Reds have lost their past three series.
They’ll try to change that on Sunday when they host the Detroit Tigers.
The teams have split the first two games this weekend. Cincinnati’s last series victory came against Miami on Aug. 19-22, when the Reds completed a four-game sweep.
The Reds won’t see their home ballpark for a while after Sunday. They embark on a nine-game trip after the game, all against Central Division foes, beginning with a stop in Chicago on Monday.
Luis Castillo will start the series finale for the Reds. Castillo (7-14, 4.30 ERA) has posted four consecutive quality starts, yet he’s been tagged with the loss in four of his past five outings.
His teammates have scored six runs in those four defeats. In his most recent start, Castillo held St. Louis to three runs on five hits while notching eight strikeouts in six innings. He gave up a two-run homer in the first inning, then settled in.
“I was able to make the adjustments afterwards to get the batters I needed to get them out in the rest of my outing,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “Just battling out there as much as possible.”
Castillo’s steady efforts have helped to preserve the bullpen. Quality outings from the starting rotation have kept Cincinnati (73-64) in the playoff hunt. The Reds hold a half-game lead for the second wild card in the National League entering Sunday.
“It really starts with our starting pitching, and our starting pitching has been really consistent,” manager David Bell said. “It’s been something we can count on. It’s not going to be every night, but for the most part, they’ve done a great job. They give us a chance to win every night.”
Castillo, a right-hander, is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against Detroit (64-73).
Right-hander Casey Mize (7-7, 3.59) will oppose Castillo. In his most recent outing, Mize gave up three runs on six hits to Minnesota on Monday and took the loss in a 3-2 game. All of the Twins’ runs came in the fourth inning, capped by a Josh Donaldson homer.
“In the fourth I just got behind hitters,” Mize said. “It went from really quick at-bats to too long of at-bats with disadvantaged counts, which made it tough.”
He held St. Louis scoreless in a five-inning stint in his previous start, a 4-3 win on Aug. 24. Mize will face the Reds for the first time.
Both starting pitchers will try to cool off a lot of hot bats. The Tigers hit five home runs in their 15-5 win on Friday. The Reds responded with four extra-base hits during a 7-4 victory Saturday, just their second win in the past seven games. Cincinnati has scored 24 runs over the past three games after being held to seven runs during a four-game slide.
Tigers infielder Jonathan Schoop has broken out of a slump during the first two games of the series, racking up six hits and five runs scored. He had gone 3-for-24 in Detroit’s previous six games.
“I know he gets frustrated when he puts together a good at-bat and doesn’t get a hit, but his outs are getting a little louder,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “Obviously, he collected another multi-hit game (on Saturday). When he stays inside the strike zone, he’s a completely different hitter. He’s dangerous and he’s very productive.”
Detroit will continue its six-game road swing Monday with a three-game series against another National League team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
–Field Level Media