"I've always thought Starlin was a really, really good player,'' Epstein said. "His defense took a big step forward last year and he's carried it over into this year. He gets a little chance to hide in the lineup now. He doesn't have to be the focal point for the opposition. He's playing really good baseball on both sides. I'm proud of him.''
Manager Joe Maddon, who is Castro's fifth manager over the last six seasons, agrees.
"He's been really good,'' Maddon said. "I mean really good.''
Maddon added that Castro has taken a leadership role with Jorge Soler and the team's other young Latin players, helping them feel welcome at Wrigley Field and elsewhere.
"His interaction with them is really taking on the form of a veteran leadership kind of thing,'' Maddon said. "Right now, I can't say enough good things about the guy. I've been really impressed.''
Castro went 1 for 4 Monday and owns a .324/.351/.419 line with two home runs, 11 RBI and one stolen base in 74 at-bats.
"Obviously nobody wants to start slow," said Ahmed to MLB.com. "It's a long season, there's a ton of at-bats to come, a ton of games to play. I just wish the last few games I could have put together some better at-bats to help the team win."
Ahmed also struggled with his swing in Triple-A last season as well as Double-A in 2013.
"We're making a lot of demands on him with his swing," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We're kind of talking to him about some things that we need him to do to be a better Major League hitter. We talked about it in Spring Training, he did it, he's getting a little bit away from it right now. But the main thing, I think, with Nick right now is pitch selection."
Ahmed is trying to not let the struggles get to him.
"Just have to stay level-headed," Ahmed said. "I lean on people that have good advice, and just stay calm and not overanalyze. Just trying to stay even keeled and go out and play."
Ramirez will replace Hector Gomez at third, who gave Ramirez the day off Sunday. He is hitting just .197 with six RBI in 61 at-bats this season. Maldonado started five consecutive games before getting the day off Sunday. Maldonado is hitting just .167 in 24 at-bats.
The Brewers are currently the underdogs (+105) against Cincinnati.
Hechavarria has not had much success against Mets starter Dillon Gee, however, going 1-for-8. Marcell Ozuna, who is batting cleanup, is hitting .417 against Gee.
Sellers started the game and played shortshop. He was 0-for-1 with one strikeout and one walk before being replaced.
Cozart has seven career home runs vs. Milwaukee, the most he's hit against any team. In four games this season against the Brewers, Cozart is hitting .313 with three homers and six RBIs.
Hechavarria has nine hits and nine RBIs in his last four games, all of which have been Marlins wins. He is hitting .333 in 19 games.
Flores saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end in Sunday's loss to the Yankees, but he has raised his average to .276 with three homers - tied for second in the majors among shortstops.
"I know that everything would come around and I would start doing good," Flores said. "I've had the opportunity to play everyday in the minors and I know how it goes. If I start everyday I know I'm going to hit. Just gotta keep pushing, keep pushing. I have the opportunity to play everyday so that's why I wasn't worried about it."
"Well, some people like to panic. That has never been my MO," he said. "I have, what, 50, 60 at-bats, I'm not sure. So if these are my worst 50 at-bats this year – I'm glad they're happening now. (If they are his worst at-bats) it’s going to be a very good year."
Rollins is hitting just .186 in 70 at-bats so far this season. He believes he's still been taking good swings at the plate, just not finding the gaps in the defense.
"It's hard to compute if you just look at numbers," he said. "I'm getting myself in good counts, just not finishing it off. I know it's coming. I'm hitting some off the end, some are getting in just a little bit. But the swing path is right. It's just a click here, a click there.
"The process is good. You have to continue to trust in the process and believe in the process. You get oriented in just results – especially at times like this – then you're trying to make all these technical changes and that's when you go from one to two to 100. So the process is right. Executing it is about fine-tuning."
So far, it's working out. Galvis went 3 for 3 with two runs scored in Philadelphia's 5-4 win over the Braves Sunday. He's hitting .361 in 61 at-bats so far this season.
"The coaches told me in spring training that I had to stay on the ground, hit line drives, and I really like it and enjoy it," Galvis said.