Nick Castellanos expects Cincinnati to keep improving

DENVER – The Cincinnati Reds have been the hottest team in the Major Leagues over the past two weeks, winning nine of their 11 games in July.

As well as they’ve played, sitting 3.5 games out of a playoff spot at the All-Star break, Nick Castellanos says they still have to play their best ball of the season.

“I think we still have guys who are getting into the flow of how good they can be,” he said. “I think Geno Suárez is going to start turning it on. (Jonathan) India is still growing and finding his potential as a Major Leaguer, which is becoming very evident that it's high.

“I think Joey (Votto)'s having fun now recognizing that winning is a serious possibility. That's usually the last thing that can ignite a fire in somebody who has had the career and everything that Joey has already done playing baseball.”

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) and second baseman Jonathan India (6) celebrate after scoring on Joey Votto's go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Friday, July 2, 2021. An RBI double scoring two runs off the bat of Joey Votto secured the win for the Reds.

Castellanos pointed to the pitching staff. Luis Castillo has started to dominate over his last eight starts. Sonny Gray will be healthy when he returns from the injured list, likely Sunday. Tyler Mahle continues to improve. Wade Miley is in rhythm and “having fun, joking, won’t shut up and throwing two-and-a-half hour games.”

The Reds carried a lot of momentum into the All-Star break when they took three of four games against the first-place Brewers in Milwaukee. The two teams will meet again for three games this weekend at Great American Ball Park.

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