CHICAGO -- The Luis Castillo (La Piedra) who took the mound for the Reds on Saturday afternoon looked more like the one who labored through the first three months of the season, not the one they've seen lately.Castillo struggled to command the zone and left too many pitches over the
CHICAGO -- The Luis Castillo (La Piedra) who took the mound for the Reds on Saturday afternoon looked more like the one who labored through the first three months of the season, not the one they've seen lately.
Castillo struggled to command the zone and left too many pitches over the plate in the Reds' 10-6 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. By the time Cincinnati's bats awoke, it was too little, too late.
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"Sometimes, the hitters will let you know if you're missing with your spots, and they take advantage of it," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "They were on him pretty good."
The game unraveled for the 25-year-old right-hander in the fourth, shortly after his two-out single pulled the Reds within a run.
After Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (Willy the Beast) smoked a leadoff double to deep center field, Castillo threw a 3-1 changeup to Kyle Schwarber (Schwarbs) in a spot 3-1 changeups should never be thrown. Schwarber didn't miss it. The two-run homer made it a 5-2 game, and Castillo's day was done after he struck out Jose Quintana (Lelo).
"I thought it was an appropriate time to get him out of the game," Riggleman said. "If you're giving up five in three innings, that's not going to cut it.
"I just didn't feel like it was any use to waste ammo having him just throw pitches for the sake of throwing pitches. It just wasn't working today."
Castillo entered play Saturday with a 2.96 ERA since the start of July after posting a 5.85 mark through the first three months. His walks-per-nine-innings ratio had dropped from 3.4 to 1.4 in that span.
The game got worse for Reds pitchers once Castillo was out of the game, as the Cubs scored in each of the next three innings off the bullpen. It didn't help that back-to-back Reds errors prolonged the seventh inning and led to three more runs.
The Reds' late spark began when Eugenio Suarez (Nicolle) and Phillip Ervin (Magic) led off the eighth with singles. Then with one out, Curt Casali (Cas) smacked a three-run homer, his fourth of the year, to make it a 10-5 game.
The next batter, Preston Tucker (Tuck) crushed a pinch-hit home run 442 feet, according to Statcast™, off Cubs reliever Brandon Kintzler (Salt).
"Your position players are out there long innings, a lot of pitches being thrown, a lot of behind-in-the-count at-bats," Riggleman said. "It's a long day to be standing out there, so you like to see your hitters get rewarded a little bit."
The Cubs first got to Castillo with two outs in the second, when Ian Happ (Happer) ripped a single to center field to score Schwarber. Daniel Murphy (Murph) followed with his second homer in as many games, a two-run shot to put Chicago up, 3-0.
"In that situation, I think [Murphy] was sitting on the changeup," Castillo said through an interpreter. "He put a really good swing on a really good changeup."
The Reds took advantage of a 36-pitch fourth inning from Quintana. After loading the bases with nobody out, Casali lifted a sac fly for their first run.
It looked like Quintana was going to escape the jam with minimal damage when, with two outs, he jumped ahead 0-2 on Castillo. However, the Reds' pitcher worked the count full before hitting an RBI single and making it a 3-2 game.
"We didn't do enough damage early in the game to get us in a position to make a real comeback," Casali said. "Felt like we were close to getting [Quintana] all day. He had a bunch of misfires, and it didn't seem like he had his best stuff today. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take advantage of that."
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The game snowballed out of control for the Reds in the seventh when the Cubs tacked on three unearned runs to make it a 10-2 game. After a dropped fly ball in right field loaded the bases with one out, Murphy bounced a routine double-play ball to short, but Jose Peraza (El Llanero) botched it, allowing a run to score and the bases to remain loaded. Javier Baez (El Mago) then hit a two-run single to put the game out of reach.
"Those runs end up hurting us, because we kind of got back in the game [in the eighth]," Riggleman said.
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Scott Schebler (Sheb) said he was glad to be leading off for the Reds in his first game since returning from the disabled list. The right fielder swung at the first pitch and ripped a 102.6-mph single to center field, according to Statcast™.
Right-hander Homer Bailey (Homer) will start for the Reds on Sunday in the series finale against the Cubs, looking for his first win since May 12. It's not just that he hasn't been able to earn the win -- Cincinnati has lost all but one of his 17 starts. He was solid in his last outing, allowing three runs in six innings against the Brewers. Righty Kyle Hendricks (Hendo) will take the mound for Chicago, with first pitch set for 2:20 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.