Major League Baseball

Surging Reds sending ace Castillo against Brewers

mlb10REDS (36-38) AT BREWERS (40-36)
4:10 p.m. ET; FSWI, FS-O, MLB.TV

The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers are trending in opposite directions midway through their four-game series this weekend and nearing a meeting point in the National League Central standings.

Cincinnati won its season-high sixth straight game on Friday night by hanging on to an 11-7 victory over the host Brewers.

The third game of the series takes place at 4:10 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The win by the Reds continued a perfect week so far as they also beat the American League-leading Houston Astros twice before taking the first two games against the Brewers.

Tanner Roark spun six stellar innings in Thursday night’s 7-1 win to open the series, and that rout has set the tone in the series.

Roark said earning a pair of one-run wins over the Astros on Tuesday and Wednesday was a springboard before leaving for Milwaukee.

“We just keep looking to the next day and keep moving and keep playing together, how we know we can play, and keep trusting each other and not wait on the next guy to do the job,” Roark said after his 97-pitch effort in the series opener.

“Be that person who does the job.”

Luis Castillo has been the best pitcher to do the job in 2019 for the Reds, and the right-hander has emerged as the staff ace and a likely All-Star.

Castillo (7-1, 2.26 ERA) has authored a brilliant first half over his 15 starts, losing just once — to the Brewers — although he wasn’t hit hard.

The hard-throwing Castillo and his nasty changeup allowed just one hit to Milwaukee on April 3, a second-inning RBI single to catcher Manny Pina that plated the game’s only run, in a strong seven-inning start.

Castillo is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in two starts this season against the division rivals and 2-2 with a 3.50 ERA in six career starts against them.

Second-place Milwaukee remained 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs($9), but the Brewers have dropped five straight and slipped to 2-8 in their last 10 games.

Milwaukee is just a half-game ahead of the third-place St. Louis Cardinals and three ahead of the resurgent Reds.

“I mean, it was the same (first) inning as yesterday,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose club has given up three runs in both of its last two first innings. “Too many free passes, a soft hit and we’re down 3-0 right away.

“Overall, the walks have been trouble. Free passes are going to hurt you.”

Jhoulys Chacin (3-8, 5.60) gets the ball for the Brewers and is trying to find his groove after returning from a stint on the injured list.

He started Monday’s game in San Diego and took the loss after allowing six hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings in his first start since returning from a back injury.

The right-hander has lost his last five starts and is 1-8 after winning his first two starts this season.

Chacin earned the victory in his lone 2019 start against the Reds on April 2 by allowing three hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings in Cincinnati.

In 11 career games (nine starts) against them, Chacin is 3-3 with a 3.81 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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