I have speculated for some time whether the Cincinnati Reds will shut down Johnny Cueto until the playoffs start to give him some much needed rest. Cueto had had a rough stretch where he went 0-3 and didn’t make it past the 4th inning in two of the three games. I speculated, too, that if he could have a chance to reach 20 wins, he and the Reds would let him pitch.
Well as of last night, Johnny Cueto picked up his 19th win and will definitely be making his next start to possibly reach that magic number of 20. That would also put him back into the discussions of Cy Young Award possibilities.
In Johnny Cueto’s last two starts, against the lowly Chicago Cubs and the charging Milwaukee Brewers, he was 2-0, gone 6 and 7 innings respectively and allowed only 2 earned runs. He lowered his ERA from 2.92 to 2.83 during that time. His fast ball had the velocity and movement he was missing and more importantly he had command of the strike zone. Cueto was moving the ball in and out, up and down – just good Johnny Cueto pitching.
Now as for garnering enough attention to pick up the Cy Young Award, Cueto will need to: a) pick up the 20th win, b) lower his ERA to 2.7 something, c) hope that Gio Gonzalez and RA Dickey suffer defeats as their season comes to an end. It will help his case that the Reds are in the playoffs and the New York Mets aren’t; however, he will have no such luck with the Washington Nationals.
I’ve said it many, many times this season and will say it again here. Johnny Cueto is the best pitcher in the league and has been for two years now. His ERA is a testament to that fact, especially when you factor in the ball park – GABP.
All that being said, award or not, all will be forgotten if Johnny Cueto doesn’t come through in the playoffs with solid outings and wins.