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On big stage, Castillo has perfect ASG debut

Gray also represents Reds at 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland
@m_sheldon
July 9, 2019

Reds ace Luis Castillo confidently proved he was ready for his first time on a big stage at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night. Not only did Castillo show he could handle himself, he wanted a crack at the Majors' best player. “I wanted to face Mike

Reds ace Luis Castillo confidently proved he was ready for his first time on a big stage at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night. Not only did Castillo show he could handle himself, he wanted a crack at the Majors' best player.

“I wanted to face Mike Trout, but I didn’t get the chance,” Castillo said through an interpreter.

Trout made the final out of the previous inning, but Castillo still had some strong foes to face in the fourth. The 26-year-old right-hander made easy work of the American League side, including striking out the Indians' Carlos Santana and the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez.

However, the AL defeated the National League, 4-3. Fellow Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray did not get into the Midsummer Classic. Gray also went unused at the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Castillo and Gray were the first Reds starters to be named All-Stars since Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon in 2014.

According to Statcast, six of Castillo's 15 pitches were changeups. He got four swing-and-misses with the pitch, including the first two strikes to Santana. In a 2-2 count vs. the Indians' slugger, Castillo threw his hardest pitch of the night -- a 98.3 mph four-seam fastball for a swinging strike three.

Martinez was in a 1-1 count when Castillo threw back-to-back changeups that got whiffs for a strikeout. Then, the Astros' Alex Bregman worked a 3-0 count before Castillo battled back with a pair of fastballs for strikes -- one called and one swinging. A 3-2 fastball at 97.3 mph got Bregman to sharply ground out to Ketel Marte at second base.

“It felt great. I think everybody comes out with the mentality to absolutely throw their best stuff out there,” Castillo said. “I was trying to throw my best pitches. Thank God I was able to strike out those two guys. I tried to go out there and be competitive.”

Castillo, who is 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 18 starts this season for the Reds, had several members of his family on hand to see his All-Star debut. He clearly enjoyed his moment of competing with, and against, the best in the game.

“Marvelous, absolutely marvelous,” Castillo said. “Obviously, it’s my first time here. It was just great to have the entire fan base out there supporting us.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.