NEW YORK — Luis Castillo’s dazzling array of high-octane fastballs, sharp sliders and elite changes had frustrated the Yankees for most of Thursday night.

At the same time, much of the Yankees universe was lost in a dream.

What would it take for the Cincinnati Reds ace to be a regular part of the rotation at Yankee Stadium?

“He’s probably one of the best pitchers in the league,” Aaron Judge said after Castillo held the Yankees to one run in seven innings – before the relievers got involved.

In 10 innings, the Reds escaped with a 7-6 win and handed the Yankees just their fourth series loss of the year, including a one-game “set” to Houston.

July 14, 2022;  Bronx, New York, USA;  Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) drives down a pitch against the New York Yankees in the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner - USA TODAY Sports

An elite arm

Castillo could be moved before MLB’s August 2 trade deadline, but the cost of talent for a front-row starter under team control throughout the 2023 season is expected to be enormous.

Suddenly, the strength and stability of the Yankees’ rotation has taken a hit lately, with Luis Severino on the disabled list and Jameson Taillon with an ERA near 9.00 in his last four starts.

But as the Yankees (62-27) buy pitching and outfield upgrades, the idea of ​​pinning Castillo — given his high price tag — seems like a long shot.

“I’ve always heard all these rumors for quite a while now,” Castillo said through an interpreter, leading to his second career start at the Stadium. “But the team has all the control over that.”

On the mound, Castillo was in complete control, not hitting the Yankees until Anthony Rizzo’s brace in the sixth, leading by one run.

“He was working both ends (and) he didn’t leave us too many errors to hit,” Judge said of Castillo, who allowed two hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts.

New York Yankees' Luis Severino huddles with teammates during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in New York City.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Update from Luis Severino

After leaving Wednesday’s start after two runs due to right shoulder tightness, Severino was diagnosed Thursday with a low-grade right lateral strain following an MRI.

Boone had no immediate estimate of the right-hander returning to the rotation, but “I’m optimistic about it.”

Severino felt the same before Thursday’s MRI results, hoping he could start shortly after the All-Star break.

Now, Severino’s first return to the rotation is the last weekend of July.

But the Yanks are aware of his second-half workload — and that of Taillon and Nestor Cortes — as they reach certain inning thresholds.

Due to Tommy John’s surgical rehabilitation from Severino and various physical issues, he has not been a regular member of Boone’s rotation since 2018.

“He’s a blow, he’s our No. 2 (starter),” Judge said of Severino’s absence from a coaching staff who “have been working hard and carrying this team for a while.”

“But we have a lot of good guys in this clubhouse who can get it back.”

New York Yankees' Nestor Cortes watches a pitch during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, July 14, 2022 in New York City.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Demolition of the enclosure

Armed with an improved cutter, Cortes bounced back from a short start in Boston (3.2 IP, 4 ER) and gave up one run over seven innings.

“Trying to be that guy again,” Cortes said of the form that made him an AL All-Star for the first time, pouring out on video and working on his command between starts.

In a 1-1 game after seven innings, both clubs scored three times in the eighth.

“Physically I feel really good,” Jonathan Loaisiga said through an interpreter, after giving up three points in the eighth. “Things didn’t work out the way I wanted.”

In his first outing since May 22 due to shoulder inflammation and a period to correct his mechanics, Loaisiga largely gave in to soft contact.

The Reds collected four singles against the right-hander, and Boone blamed himself for leaving Loaisiga too long on his return to the major league.

But Judge’s solo circuit – his 31st of the year – and Gleyber Torres’ two-point shot on Jeff Hoffman made it 4-4.

With no Michael King and Clay Holmes available due to recent workloads, and reluctant to use Aroldis Chapman in a high leverage spot, Lucas Luetge gave up three runs in the 10e — and the Yanks nearly came back.

The tying and winning runs were at second and first shortly after Matt Carpenter, starting from right field, hit a two-run homer – his 11e in just 28 games.

But DJ LeMahieu’s noisy line-up at center put an end to it, giving Dauri Morea his first career stoppage.

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