The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds conclude their three-game series on Thursday at Great American Ballpark. The Cubs were winners thanks to Kyle Hendricks on Tuesday, as he pretty well did everything on the mound and at the plate.
He was responsible for 2 runs early in the contest, which ultimately set up a dominating performance on the bump. The 2 runs were the winning runs, as Hendricks was the real winner of the day. However, the Cubs gave it back the next day, as the Reds were able to edge them out with a 6-5 victory.
He game went to overtime and Yasiel Puig singled in the winning run Wednesday. Puig has napped for much of this season, but it was nice for the Reds to see him settling in and getting a big hit. For the price they’re paying Puig, he’s going to have to improve on his contributions thus far. Puig is hitting just .212 with 7 long balls. We will wait until the weather heats up in the summer to draw a clearer picture of Puig, though.
The Reds didn’t obtain Puig to play at the back of the NL Central. They’re last and 7.5 games behind the Cubs for 1st in the division. That’s not what the Reds bargained for when they spent money to help Joey Votto out. The biggest bright spot in Cincinnati this season has been the play of Luis Castillo.
He’s had a breakout season thus far and is the early frontrunner for the Cy Young in the National League. Castillo was expected to perform this season, though I don’t believe people saw it coming this fast. He will get the nod, while Jose Quintana is expected to counter for the Cubs. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Reds pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick:
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Luis Castillo would be getting a little more attention and recognition if he were playing in a bigger baseball market. A better team would certainly help as well, but as it is, Castillo has been pitching like the best pitcher in baseball regardless. The Reds may want to consider getting him under contract sooner rather than later. His asking price is only going to go up and the big market teams already have their wallets ready to jump on him.
Understandably so, as Castillo enters Thursday with a terrific ERA of 1.76 and 0.99 WHIP. He is coming off one of his best outings of the season, as he was strong against the Giants with 2 hits and no runs allowed across 6 innings. Castillo allowed struck out 11 hitters. It’s the second time this season that he has allowed just 2 hits and no runs before turning the ball over to the bullpen. He was touched up for 4 runs against the Giants, but responded nicely with a marquee performance.
The Reds need more help than just Castillo on the pitching staff, though. That said he’s always an attractive option when it’s his turn in the rotation. Castillo has been even better at home with a 1.65 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He has allowed 1 or no runs in four of five outings in Cincinnati this year. Quintana hopes to keep up with Castillo on Thursday.
He’s been having a fairly decent season with an ERA of 3.50 and 1.25 WHIP. His issues stem from his effort on the road, where he holds an ERA of 5.03 and 1.53 WHIP. The Reds are hitting much better against lefties, with a .246 average compared to .205 against right-handed pitching. This should be another good game between the Cubs and Reds, but it’s hard to fade Castillo at home as he enters elite territory in May. The Reds have been streaky this season and this looks like one of those days that they’re on the winning side.