Lynn will try to carry July's success into August

CINCINNATI -- Lance Lynn's name was bandiedabout in the weeks leading up to the July non-waiver trade deadline, but the 30-year-old right-hander remained with the St. Louis Cardinals.

On Saturday, Lynn will make his 23rd start of the season against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Lynn, who'll be a free agent after this season, was able to shrug off the rumors and has a personal three-game winning streak going into Saturday's start. He has limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 16 of his starts.

"It just shows his toughness, being able to put (rumors) aside and get out there and focus on what he needs to do," manager Mike Matheny said. "He continued to prepare and do his work. He's had a great year for us so far, and he just needs to stay focused on that next start that he's given."

Lynn ranks sixth in the National League with a 3.20 ERA and fifth with a .210 batting average against. He's 9-4 against the Reds with a 3.15 ERA in 19 career appearances (16 starts). In two starts against them this season, Lynn is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA with nine strikeouts and four walks in 11 innings.

The struggling Cardinals will get their first look at Reds right-hander Luis Castillo, one of four rookies in Cincinnati's rotation. Castillo has produced quality starts in three of his previous five outings and has emerged as a bright spot in the Reds' efforts to rebuild around young pitching, which to this point has produced mixed results.

Castillo, 24, has thrown 128 1/3 innings this season, including 80 1/3 in 14 starts at Double-A Pensacola. His career high is 131 2/3 innings last year in the Miami Marlins' system, so the Reds likely have begun counting.

"Inevitably, that's just the dialogue of today's game," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "There will definitely be internal talks on what we are comfortable doing with Luis in regard to innings and how much to pitch in September. His stuff speaks for itself."

St. Louis hopes to have Yadier Molina back behind the plate Saturday. He didn't start Friday night's series opener after being struck by a foul tip and later on the collarbone on a backswing in Thursday's loss at Milwaukee. Carson Kelly caught Friday's game, but Molina did ground out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

The Cardinals are 3-8 this season against the Reds, who swept a four-game series from St. Louis in convincing fashion in early June. Cincinnati outscored St. Louis 28-9 at Great American Ball Park, highlighted by Scooter Gennett's four-homer game.

Cincinnati has won 15 of the past 24 games versus the Cardinals, including 12 of 18 and six of the previous seven after Friday's 3-2 loss.

"I think for the most part the guys are trying to enjoy the game even though we're losing and not putting it together the way we want to," Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake said. "Guys are still pulling together and playing hard."