In a season marked with failure and disappointment for the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals added insult to injury on Wednesday night by chasing Reds ace Johnny Cueto after five innings, in the process dashing the one bright spot remaining for the Reds this year — the potential Cy Young Award chase by Cueto.
The Cardinals hardly battered Cueto, but still hung him with his second-worst outing of the season. Despite the showing against the Cardinals, Cueto remains second in the NL in ERA (2.24), WHIP (0.94) and strikeouts (191), and he also still leads the league in BAA (.188) and IP (192.2) while sharing the league lead in wins with 15.
The bad outing by Cueto opens the door for Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright for second-best status in the NL, but the reality is that neither Cueto nor Wainwright are likely to surpass Clayton Kershaw for Cy Young consideration this year. Wainwright shares the league lead in wins with 15, but is third in other categories behind Kershaw and Cueto. He doesn’t even crack the top 10 in strikeouts.
Cueto had surrendered three earned runs just twice in his last 13 starts before Wednesday night and pitched fewer than six innings just once. While his bid for the Cy Young is not entirely over, he only has a maximum of seven starts remaining in the season and would have to be virtually flawless.
Likewise, Kershaw would have to stumble considerably for Cueto to have a shot at the award.