It has been a very interesting stretch for Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. After going through his first rough stretch of the 2014 season, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cueto found a way to get back on track. With another strong outing, he is still arguably the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award.
For Cueto, it was just a short time ago that he began the year posting quality start after quality start. The right-hand workhorse also sprinkled in three complete games in a six-start stretch. But after getting roughed up in back-to-back starts and very nearly being on the wrong end of a perfect game, Cueto was back to his normal self in the desert.
Against the D-Backs, Cueto had his A-game working, allowing five hits, one walk, and no runs while striking out seven in 7.1 innings. He is now again tied for the lowest ERA in the league, and is just three punchouts shy of the league lead in strikeouts as well. He has really taken the reins as the Reds’ top pitcher.
Cueto’s best year was in 2012, where he compiled career-bests in starts and wins. After a shortened 2013 year, he is in arguably throwing his best stretch of games ever with the stingy numbers that he is putting up. As June approaches, Cueto is seemingly in a two-man race for the NL Cy Young award with Adam Wainwright, who struggled for the first time in his last start as well.
Between these two divisional rivals, the race should come down to the wire for the NL’s top prize. This latest start may have put Cueto out in front for the moment.
Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.