Cincinnati Reds and Luis Castillo lose in Cleveland

CLEVELAND –– Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo’s changeup has been the pitch he was always able to rely on for a strikeout. 

But Castillo’s changeup hasn’t been as effective so far this season.

Castillo said his changeup isn’t at 100%, and he adjusted his game plan to feature fewer changeups in Cleveland on Saturday. Castillo only threw four innings and allowed four earned runs as Cleveland beat the Reds, 9-2.

“What I've seen is about 70% of my pitches are staying in the zone,” Castillo said through team interpreter Jorge Merlos. “I'm definitely noticing that and I'm definitely focusing on that, too. What I'm trying to do now is pitch lower so that way we can get more swings and misses and more ground balls.”

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo throws out Cleveland Indians' Austin Hedges at first base after a bunt during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Through his first seven starts of the season, Castillo has a 15.43 ERA in the first inning. Castillo started Saturday’s game leaning on his fastball, throwing it on 14 of his first 22 pitches. But Cleveland left fielder Eddie Rosario kept Castillo’s first inning struggles going as he hit a 96 mph fastball for a line drive RBI double to left field. 

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