Winker went 3-for-14 with two RBIs in the three games as his average dropped to .344, still the second-best mark in baseball.
The Reds lead the National League with a .250 average. Without Castellanos and Winker, they would be hitting .223, which would be the second-worst average in the league.
2. Rookie contributions: The Reds have won two of the first three starts in Vladimir Gutierrez’s career, and they won the first start of Tony Santillan’s career on Sunday. The rookies have stepped up with Jeff Hoffman and Sonny Gray, two veterans, on the injured list.
Santillan allowed one earned run on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“What was so fun to see and impressive from Tony was just the look in his eye,” manager David Bell said. “He was not backing down. It wasn’t easy, but it was very impressive. For a first start, it doesn’t get much better than that. I thought he did a great job. Same with (Gutierrez). You give them both credit obviously for coming here prepared but also our player-development system for preparing those guys. They’re not scared. They’ve come in very ready to go. It’s been a big part of our team last couple of weeks.”
3. Improved bullpen: Reds relievers still rank last in baseball with a 5.73 ERA. The loss of Tejay Antone, who went on the injured list with right forearm inflammation Friday, won’t help. He has a 1.41 ERA in 20 appearances. No other member of the bullpen with at least nine appearances has an ERA under 4.00.
However, the bullpen has made progress in recent days. It has a 4.67 ERA in the last 12 games. Five relievers combined to give up one run on one hit in 4 1/3 innings Sunday.
“We came together as a group and realized things can go one or two ways at this point,” said Lucas Sims, who has a 4.62 ERA in in 24 appearances. “Let’s figure out something. Let’s come together. Let’s make this mean something. Let’s pass the baton, and let’s get this thing rolling. This was a very big game for us.”