Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zach Davies and Cincinnati Reds right-hander Luis Castillo own two of the top four ERAs in the major leagues, and they will go head-to-head on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of a two-game series at Miller Park.
Davies (5-0, 1.54 ERA) owns the second-lowest ERA in the majors behind Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1.52). The Tampa Bay Rays' Tyler Glasnow is third with a 1.86 ERA, just ahead of Castillo (5-1, 1.90).
Davies faced the Reds in Cincinnati in his season debut on April 1 and allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. He did not receive a decision in the Brewers' 4-3 victory. Davies hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his nine starts this season, the longest streak to start a season in team history.
"He's doing a heck of a job, making quality pitches over and over again," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Castillo took his only loss of the season against the Brewers on April 3, though it was one of his better performances. He allowed one run and one hit in seven innings, but visiting Milwaukee won 1-0 behind eight shutout innings from Freddy Peralta.
"You want your ace to give you the feeling that you have a chance to win that day," Reds manager David Bell said. "Luis Castillo absolutely has given us that every time he has gone out."
Castillo is already getting early mentions as an All-Star candidate, but it might take a few more strong performances before he's considered a lock for a spot, according to his manager.
"Luis Castillo is well on his way there with the start he has had," Bell said. "He is getting close to those elite guys."
After not making it through six innings in five of his first six outings this season, Davies has gone at least six innings in each of his past three starts.
"Being able to get to the sixth or seventh inning each time out is cool for (the starting staff)," Davies said. "A complete game is probably the ultimate goal for us, but just being out there to try to bridge that gap for the bullpen, make sure they don't have to cover too much, that's one of our goals."
His teammates have noticed his durability, as well as his dependability.
"He's going deep in games for us," Milwaukee right fielder Christian Yelich said. "He's being that guy we look to that, when he gets the ball, we really believe that he's going to go deep and we're going to have a great chance to win."
Yelich leads the majors with 19 home runs, but he was a late scratch in the series opener on Tuesday night because of back spasms, and the offense suffered in a 3-0 loss. Yelich missed a week earlier this season with lower-back tightness, but did not go on the injured list.
Ben Gamel replaced Yelich in right field on Tuesday and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the No. 7 spot.
The Reds are hoping to get right fielder Yasiel Puig back in the lineup as well.
Puig sat out the series opener with a strained right shoulder, an injury that occurred when he made a difficult catch in foul territory on Sunday against the visiting Dodgers.
--Field Level Media