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Jacksonville

Marlins Chen hopes home success continues vs. Reds

Sports Xchange
21 Sep 2018, 15:45 GMT+10

MIAMI -- Wei-Yin Chen will make his final home start of the season Friday in a year in which he has been dominant at Marlins Park.

Chen, a Miami Marlins left-hander, is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA at home this season. Batters are hitting .190 with five homers against him at Marlins Park, where he has also struck out 66 in 71 innings.

On the road, Chen has been brutal - 1-8 with a 9.29 ERA and 14 homers allowed.

Chen's counterpart Friday will be former Marlins right-hander Luis Castillo (10-12, 4.52 ERA).

Castillo's average fastball checks in at 95.8 mph, and he has reached 100 with his heater. Even so, the Marlins traded him twice during his days as a prospect. The first deal -- to the San Diego Padres -- fell through because of an injury to another player.

Team executives finally dealt Castillo, who beat the Marlins on July 30, 2017, which stands as the only time he has faced Miami.

In that 2017 game at Marlins Park, Castillo was brilliant, striking out six in eight innings while holding the Marlins to three hits, one walk and one run. He threw 106 pitches that day, including 70 for strikes.

This year, Castillo has been an enigma. He was 3-8 in even-numbered months and 7-4 in odd-numbered months.

In other words, he had a 7.23 ERA in April, 6.75 in June and 5.57 in August. Conversely, he has posted a 3.48 ERA in May, 2.25 in July and 1.46 in four September starts.

Castillo is also 6-5 with a 3.51 ERA at home this year but 4-7 with a. 5.56 ERA on the road.

Chen, who is 6-11 with a 4.93 ERA overall this season, will no doubt pitch carefully to Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, who was dominant Thursday in Cincinnati's 4-2 win over Miami.

Gennett's final big play of the night came with two outs and two on in the ninth as the Reds were attempting to protect their two-run cushion. Miami's Miguel Rojas hit a smash that appeared destined to be an RBI single.

However, Gennett dove to his left and made the game-ending assist from the outfield grass.

"I got a good jump, dove, and the ball went in my glove," Gennett said. "Things happen fast on the field. I don't try to dive and slam my head on the ground unless I feel I have a good chance of getting the ball."

Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said he was "amazed" by the play.

"That ball is a hit on most days," Riggleman said. "Scooter made a great play."

Beside his defense, Gennett also hit a two-run homer and a two-run double, driving in all four Cincinnati runs.

He went 2-for-3 on Thursday, raising his batting average to .318.

Gennett is chasing the National League batting title and trails only Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, who is hitting .319.

Meanwhile, Miami (59-93), which has the worst record in the NL, was held to seven hits Thursday - six singles and one double.

The Reds, who are in last place in the NL Central, are 66-88.

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