Cincinnati Reds' Ace Johnny Cueto Deserves All-Star Start

By Robb Hoff
Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Cueto
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Any time a pitcher leads their league in innings pitched, strikeouts, ERA, opponents batting average and WHIP, he’d seem like a lock to not only make his league’s All-Star team but start the game.

That is, unless the pitcher is Cincinnati Reds‘ ace Johnny Cueto and the league manager picking the All-Star pitchers is a St. Louis Cardinals‘ manager.

History then would suggest that the odds won’t be in Cueto’s favor. Cueto had a stellar start to the 2012 but somehow found himself left off the All-Star roster by former Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa. After 18 starts before the 2012 All-Star game, Cueto sported a 10-5 record with a 2.39 ERA only to find himself victim of the shameless bias of La Russa, who kept Cueto off the roster despite a dominant first half of the season.

Current Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny might do the same thing his predecessor did when it comes to Cueto since there seems to be impunity regarding such blatant snubs, but Matheny will experience a lot more backlash should he omit Cueto from the All-Star roster in 2014.

Matheny won’t be able to do like his predecessor did by trying to hide behind the bygone rule of disqualifying a starting pitcher from the All-Star active squad if the pitcher had started a game the Sunday prior to the game, which was the case with Cueto in 2012 and the rationale La Russa used in explaining his misuse of his charge for pitcher selection.

Matheny will have a much harder time disguising bias or justifying misuse of authority, because Cueto has been the best pitcher in baseball in 2014. Still, if Cueto isn’t named starter for the Midsummer classic, it won’t necessarily be because Cueto’s level of domination drops off from now until then.

But all Cueto can control is what he’s been controlling not only this year, but for the past five years. Cueto has the second lowest ERA (2.76) to Clayton Kershaw (2.41) among starting pitchers who have thrown at least 700 innings in the major leagues since 2010.

Robb Hoff is a Cincinnati Reds writer for Follow him on Twitter @NFLNostradamus, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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