The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
If I were to list all of the things Johnny Cueto has done well this season, this recap would be longer than a Stephen King novel. It would still read like a baseball blogholio wrote it, though, and ain't nobody got time for that.
Hes' off the the best 9 game start to a season of any Cincinnati Reds pitcher in, well, in ever.
Cueto tossed a complete game, 3 hit shutout this afternoon, striking out 8 San Diego Padres in the process. He allowed just 3 hits - all singles - and a pair of walks, and thanks to a pair of double plays and one Padre being caught stealing, he faced just two batters over the minimum during his 116 pitch afternoon. Cueto has now thrown at least 7 innings in each of his 9 starts, at least 8 innings in each of his last 6 starts, and has yet to allow more than 2 ER in any of his starts.
As of the end of today's game, he leads all major league starting pitchers in ERA (1.25), IP (72.0), WHIP (0.71), CG (3) and strikeouts (72), and has been as singularly dominant as any player I've ever watched over a month and a half.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brandon Phillips, who had a pair of hits - one of which was the superdinger that gave the Reds all the cushion they'd need; Zack Cozart, who had 3 hits on the afternoon; Billy Hamilton, who had a pair of hits to get his OBP back over .300; and Brayan Pena, who smacked a pair of hits in what may be his last start behind the plate before Devin Mesoraco returns from the DL.
- Both Cueto and Ian Kennedy mowed their way through their opposition for the first 4 innings, but the Reds finally got to Kennedy in the Bottom of the 5th. Cozart led off the half-inning with an opposite-field single, and after both Cueto and Hamilton were retired, Skipwise the Scrappy singled on a groundball to right that moved Cozart to 3B. Phillips then launched a rocket that just cleared the tall wall in left for a 3-run dinger. Reds led, 3-0.
- Ryan Ludwick's sharply-hit grounder to 3B Chase Headley went for an infield single to lead off the Bottom of the 6th, Pena followed with a mashed double off the wall in right to put runners at 2B and 3B, and Cozart plated both with a single up the middle (despite 1B being open and the pitcher in the on-deck circle). Reds led, 5-0.
- Cueto continued his Cuetoian ways, inducing weak grounders and silly whiffs with a change-up so nasty only a mother could love it, and that was that. Reds win, 5-0!
- Every player in the Reds lineup had at least one hit today aside from Cueto, who was busy doing his slicing-up-eyeballs thing on the mound. In fact, every position player aside from Ryan Ludwick reached base at least twice. Way to be super teamy, team!
- Todd Frazier's 2 hit day give extended his hit streak to 13 games, which includes every game in the month of May.
- The Reds and Padres will lace them up again later this afternoon for the second game of the doubleheader, with first pitch slated for 6:10 PM. Jeff Francis was called up from Louisville and will start for the Reds. In corresponding moves, Mat Latos was moved to the 60 day DL to open a spot on the 40 man roster for Francis, and Nick Christiani was optioned to Louisville to open a spot on the 25 man roster for Francis. Since it's a doubleheader, the Reds will be allowed a 26th player in the dugout for the second game, and there has not yet been an announcement regarding who that player will be. I'll guess it'll be Curtis Partch, though.
- Turns out all Bonnie Tyler needed was Johnny Cueto.