The Cincinnati Reds will try to stay in the National League wild-card race when they open a four-game series against the visiting Washington Nationals on Thursday evening.
The Reds, who split two games against the Pirates before being rained out on Wednesday, come into the series 4 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.
Making up ground on the Cardinals will not be easy for the Reds (78-74) as St. Louis goes into Thursday riding a 11-game winning streak.
Cincinnati has 10 games remaining in its 2021 season, with eight of those games coming against either the Nationals or the Pirates. The other two games come against the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Washington (63-89) is coming off a series win against the host Miami Marlins after taking two of three.
The Nationals, who have won 10 of their past 11 games in Cincinnati, held on to beat the host Marlins 7-5 on Wednesday.
Despite the rainout, there was news coming out of Great American Ballpark on Wednesday as the Reds announced a two-year contract extension for manager David Bell.
"It's something I'd like to do for as long as possible," Bell said. "I love doing it, love the team, the organization and our players.
"It doesn't change my focus. I was confident it would all work out, so it doesn't really change anything other than it just makes me look forward to finishing strong this year and continuing that for years to come."
Sonny Gray was scheduled to start Thursday's series opener but the rainout pushed things back.
So, Luis Castillo (8-15, 4.08 ERA) gets the start for Cincinnati after he missed out on facing the Pirates.
Castillo comes into the game on a bit of a high after picking up the win against the Dodgers on Sept. 17. Castillo threw 6 1/3 shutout innings, giving up five hits and striking out 10.
This month, Castillo is 1-1 in three starts, giving up seven runs (five earned) with 22 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings of work.
Castillo is 0-3 lifetime against the Nationals, allowing 13 runs with 20 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings of work. This is the first time he has faced Washington this season.
The Nationals will counter with lefty Patrick Corbin (8-15, 6.17), whose last outing against the Rockies only lasted four innings.
Corbin gave up six runs on nine hits, striking out five. He also gave up two home runs, which gave him 36 for the season.
"Just the way my season has gone," Corbin said. "Try to throw the perfect pitch and end up missing my spot. Yanking pitches, just location, I think. The fastball command wasn't very good today. Had some good sliders when I did throw them. Had a couple swings and misses for strike three on those, but it just comes down to fastball command, which hasn't really been consistent."
This will be Corbin's 10th career start against the Reds.
Corbin is 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA against Cincinnati in 10 games (nine starts), but this will be his first start against the Reds this season.
Cincinnati took the only other series against the Nationals this year, taking two of three back in May.
--Field Level Media