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The Johnny Cueto Countdown

The Trade Deadline is lurking whether we like it or not.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that Johnny Cueto is the current, former, and would-be future ace of the Cincinnati Reds.  It's also well known beyond the realm of the baseballing folks of the Cincinnati area that Cueto is set to be a free agent after the 2015 season, and his current aceness and affordable $10 million salary this season have him the apple of many eyes as the trade deadline barrels ever closer.

That trade deadline bell tolls at the end of July, and for a team that boasts a 27-32 record and has an arsenal of talent on the infirmary shelf, it's apparent that the Reds are inching ever closer to having to deal Cueto.  Should he take his customary spot on the mound every fifth day between now and said deadline, that means there are roughly ten more appearances where we'll have the chance to see the greatest Reds pitcher in a generation take the mound with the good guys.

Ten.  Damn.

Just because his Redleg days may be winding down, however, there's absolutely zero reason not to celebrate the ridiculousness he's provided us with since his debut in 2008.  So, with that mind, we're going to celebrate some of his best MLB outings between now and the deadline so that should he be traded, we'll all still have his awesomeness freshly planted in the front of our brains.  And, in the event that the Reds hold on to him for 2015 and/or beyond, there's really no reason not to take a look back at starts from the guy who has been the best right-handed pitcher in the National League for the better part of four full seasons.  That means we're going to do that for every day he takes the mound until Walt Jocketty & Co. sort out the direction of the franchise.

Johnny takes the mound in Chicago against the Cubs in Wrigley Field Friday afternoon, and there's no better time to begin to recall the absolute best of his performances as a member of the Reds than now.

Today, we look back at his April 16, 2014 start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, an evening where he didn't just eschew the chanting BS from the 2013 one-game Wild Card Playoff shenanigans, but he also set a career high in strikeouts in one of the first starts of his Cy Young runner-up season.

Want video of eyeball-slicing?  Here's video of eyeball-slicing:

Do it again today against the Cubs for old time's sake, would ya Johnny?