5 reasons why the Reds can overtake the Brewers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: Omar Narvaez #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers blocks Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds after being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: Omar Narvaez #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers blocks Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds after being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo
Luis Castillo /

Luis Castillo is getting hot

Castillo entered 2021 as a purported leader of the Reds pitching staff. He was 15-10 in the last full season, 2019, and carried a 3.21 ERA through 2020.

Castillo’s 2021 season began disastrously. Through May he was 1-8 with a 7.23 ERA, only twice lasting into the sixth inning. Since June 4,  however, the old Castillo has returned. His 2-2 record is as deceptive as many wins-losses numbers are these days.  Castillo has a 1.47 ERA in his seven post-May starts with 42 strikeouts in his 52 innings of work.

He hasn’t allowed more than three runs and six hits in any of those seven starts.

A key has been the restoration of his control. Through May, Castillo had averaged 4.6 bases on balls per nine innings. Since June 4, he’s reduced that figure nearly by half, to 2.75.

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Castillo’s return to form doesn’t level the pitching playing field between the Brewers and Reds, but it narrows it some. The Reds’ obvious weakness compared with the team they must catch is on the mound. If Castillo can deliver the kind of second half Reds fans have come to expect – and the kind they didn’t see in April and May – it enhances Cincinnati’s chances of competing on a more than equal footing with the Brewers.