How Luis Castillo turned his season around

Even when Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo had one of the highest ERAs in MLB, Reds first baseman Joey Votto called the days when Castillo started “Niño Day.”

Every time before Castillo pitched, Votto wished him a happy Niño Day. Third baseman Eugenio Suárez did the same. So did other players, which made every one of Castillo’s starts feel like a holiday.

All season, Castillo has treated his starts like a holiday, too. He has kept that approach throughout a year where he has 15 losses, the most in MLB. And Castillo said that mindset helped him turn around his entire 2021 season.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) smiles after Cincinnati Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas (9) threw out the final batter of the top of the second inning of the MLB baseball between the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

“I’ve always had a smile, I’ve always been like that,” Castillo said via interpreter Jorge Merlos. “I’ve always tried to be happy as much as I can in the dugout. I’ve actually always been like that even when I was little too. I’ve always had a smile on my face whether it’s good times or bad times. That’s how I’ve gone through life.”

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