The Cincinnati Reds are thrilled to have Nick Castellanos back in the lineup, but they are just as happy with the way Kyle Farmer is hitting since the All-Star break.
Farmer, with three more hits in Thursday’s series-opening win over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, is among the major league leaders in hitting since the break. Farmer has five three-hit games and 30 hits in the three-week span.
Since July 23, Farmer has hit in 12 of 13 games and is batting .453 (24-for-53).
“I like getting the first (hit) out of the way every night,” Farmer said Thursday after Cincinnati’s 7-4 win. “The clubhouse is fun right now. Glad Nick is back. We’re trying to make (third base coach J.R. House’s) arm as sore as possible, waving those runners in.”
Castellanos was 0-for-3 Thursday in his return from a two-week stay on the injured list with a right wrist microfracture suffered on July 16.
“He’s still going to have to deal with it. He’s had an injury. It was significant,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s great to have him back. Clearly, he’s a big part of our lineup, a big part of our team.”
The Reds are monitoring another health issue as rookie catcher Tyler Stephenson left in the fifth inning Thursday with hamstring tightness. Bell said he is day-to-day.
Anthony Banda struck out one in a perfect seventh inning as he made his Pirates debut Thursday. The left-hander was picked up off waivers from the New York Mets, who designated him for assignment last Saturday.
“He’s a veteran left-handed, multi-inning guy that we’re going to add to our bullpen,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said, “so I’m definitely very interested and excited to watch him pitch.”
“I’m still feeling the same (positive) vibes with this team,” Banda said. “Guys have welcomed me with open arms. We’ve had dinners already. It’s just been a great time, really, the past couple of days.”
In the second game of the four-game weekend series, the Reds will send lefty Wade Miley (8-4, 2.92 ERA) to the mound in his second start of the season vs. the Pirates. Miley will be making his first start of August after posting a 2.51 ERA in July. Miley is 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in 11 starts since returning from the injured list in May with a left foot sprain.
Miley has had at least 10 runs of support in five of his starts, with the Reds winning all five. One of those starts came in his only appearance this season against Pittsburgh, on April 6 at Great American Ball Park, as the Reds prevailed 14-1. Miley allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings. Miley is 3-3 with a 3.58 ERA in 11 career starts vs. Pittsburgh.
The Pirates counter with right-hander JT Brubaker (4-10, 4.49), who will be making his 20th start of the season. Brubaker allowed one run on three hits in six innings but had a no-decision in his last start, a 3-2 walkoff win against the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday. Brubaker will be out to snap a personal six-game losing streak.
Brubaker started and won Pittsburgh’s only victory in seven chances this season against Cincinnati. On May 11, he allowed one run over six innings in Pittsburgh’s 7-2 win. Brubaker has allowed 18 runs (eight home runs) in his last five starts over 24 2/3 innings.
Brubaker is 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in three career starts vs. Cincinnati, including 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts this season.
–Field Level Media