Young arms square off as Reds visit Braves

Two of the National League’s most promising second-year pitchers square off Wednesday when the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves play for the final time this season.

The Reds will send Luis Castillo (5-8. 5.70 ERA) against the Braves’ Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.59) in the rubber match of the three-game series in Atlanta. The Braves won 5-4 in 11 innings Monday and the Reds prevailed 5-3 on Tuesday. The season series is even at 3-3.

The Reds have won eight of their last nine games overall and improved to 30-31 since Jim Riggleman took over as manager April 19.

“We are a young team trying to find our identity and who we are,” Riggleman said. “As the season progresses, we would like to see some results in a positive direction, and I think we have that going. Hopefully we can take it into the All-Star break and hopefully pick it back up after.”

The same pitchers met Aug. 20 as rookies last year, with the Braves winning 8-1. Newcomb pitched five scoreless innings and worked around five hits and five walks to earn the win. Castillo allowed two runs in four innings, striking out eight.

Castillo, 25, will make his 17th start of the season and his second career appearance against the Braves. He pitched well in his last start, a win over the Chicago Cubs that saw him give up three runs in 5 2/3 innings, with five strikeouts.

The promising right-hander is trying to survive a rocky June, which has seen him go 1-3 with a 6.33 ERA in four starts. He was 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA in six May starts.

Newcomb is 6-0 in starts following an Atlanta loss. He has allowed one run over 13 innings in his last two outings. He gave up one run in seven innings against Baltimore on Friday but did not receive a decision.

Newcomb has made two career starts against the Reds, going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA. In an April 26 start against Cincinnati this season, Newcomb gave up four runs in six innings and did not get a decision in the Braves’ 7-4 win.

Atlanta is awaiting to learn the condition of Anibal Sanchez, who has been the team’s surprising addition to the rotation. The veteran left Tuesday’s game after 4 2/3 innings with cramps in his right calf.

“Cramping in his calf,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Once it starts like that, it’s going to take all night. It was his landing leg. He wasn’t going to be able to go. But he should be fine.”

The Braves said they expect to get closer Arodys Vizcaino back from the disabled list Saturday. He has been sidelined with right shoulder soreness. He played catch Tuesday and is expected to throw off the mound Friday.

“I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be ready when his time is up,” Snitker said.

After an open date Thursday, Atlanta begins a difficult road trip that takes the Braves to play the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers.

The Reds continue their road trip with a four-game series against the Brewers that begins Thursday.