Castro will try to follow up his record-setting debut by helping Chicago beat Harang once again in Cincinnati on Saturday night.
After being limited five runs while being swept in a three-game set in Pittsburgh, the slow-starting Cubs (14-16) were searching for a spark when they called up the 20-year-old Castro from Double-A Tennessee on Friday morning.
The highly touted shortstop provided that with a three-run homer in his first major league at-bat, and added a three-run triple in a 14-7 victory later that night. The six RBIs were the most for any player in a modern-day debut.
“The kid - what a debut!” manager Lou Piniella said. “He’s got to be ecstatic. He should be.”
The performance also helped Chicago move within a victory of claiming its second road series in six tries this season. The Cubs dropped two of three in their previous trip to Cincinnati on April 7-9.
A matchup with Harang (1-4, 6.68 ERA) could help Chicago wrap up this series early. The Cubs have won five of six in Cincinnati when the right-hander has started.
Harang is 0-4 with a 4.58 ERA over that span, and 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA in his last three overall matchups against Chicago.
After earning his first win of the season April 27 against Houston, Harang was on the wrong end of a 6-0 defeat Sunday in St. Louis, but produced his second straight quality outing by allowing three runs over six innings.
“I feel like I’ve made some definite strides,” Harang told the Reds’ official website. “I’ve been more aggressive with the fastball, moving the ball in and out and around the zone the way I want to.”
Harang, though, hasn’t had much luck at home for almost a year, going 0-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 starts since beating Houston on May 25.
Tom Gorzelanny(notes) (1-3, 2.48) started the finale of that series the next day, but couldn’t come away with a win despite giving up one run and four hits over 6 1-3 innings. The Cubs provided him only one run in his season debut and the bullpen couldn’t hold on to that lead in a 3-1 loss.
He got one run of support during three straight losses that followed that start, but his teammates helped boost him to a 10-5 home win over Arizona on Sunday. Gorzelanny gave up two runs over seven innings in that victory.
“The guys jumped on them early, and that’s a good feeling for any pitcher,” Gorzelanny said.
Gorzelanny is 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA in seven career starts against the Reds (14-15), but 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two matchups since being acquired from Pittsburgh on July 30.
His first win for the Cubs came in Cincinnati on Aug. 4 as he allowed one run and three hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 6-3 victory.