Depending on how the Reds adjust their rotation between now and then Johnny Cueto may be in line to start against the Cardinals next week.
When he last faced the Cardinals on August 10 there was a benches-clearing incident and Cueto was suspended seven games after giving Jason LaRue a season-ending concussion with a kick to the head, so the follow-up start has the potential to be very interesting.
Fortunately for Cueto, manager Dusty Baker realizes that might not be the world’s greatest idea right now and indicated that the Reds may keep him from pitching against the Cardinals:
I don’t know yet. He’s going to have to pitch against them some time. They say time heals all wounds. Maybe it doesn’t.
Baker is right that Cueto will eventually have to pitch against the Cardinals, but next week’s three-game series is actually the final time Cincinnati and St. Louis will meet this season. And while the Cardinals are no doubt capable of holding a grudge until 2011, presumably the level of anger will have dropped off at least somewhat in eight months. Or at least Cueto can further improve his Kung Fu skills by then.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.