Johnny Cueto, who keeps straddling the innings threshold for the NL ERA lead, beat the Rockies by pitching seven scoreless innings on Thursday, lowering his ERA to 1.94.
Cueto missed the first month of the season with a strained triceps muscle, so he’s currently at 120 1/3 innings in the Reds’ 118 games. Because he’s at one inning per game, he’s the NL ERA leader at the moment. However, barring a stunning relief appearance, he’ll again fall below the innings threshold Sunday.
Cueto has a chance to make history. Just one Reds pitcher during the expansion era has posted a sub-2.00 ERA. That was Gary Nolan, who came in with a 1.99 ERA in 176 innings in 1972. Before that, one has to go all of the way back to Dolf Luque in 1923 to find a Reds starter with a sub-2.00 ERA.
Also, no Reds pitcher has led the NL in ERA since Ed Heusser finished at 2.38 in 1944. Cueto has a legitimate chance of ending that skid. The NL’s next best ERA is a 2.48 mark belonging to Ryan Vogelgong. Roy Halladay is third at 2.51.
The 2017 MLB award season officially drew to a close on Friday with the Esurance MLB Awards, handed out to the best hitters, pitchers, front office members and moments in the 2017 season. Jose Altuve was crowned the Best Major Leaguer overall, beating out fellow finalists Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, while two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber took home honors as Best Pitcher.
Here’s the full list of winners:
- Best Rookie: Aaron Judge
- Best Defensive Player: Nolan Arenado
- Personality of the Year: Adrian Beltre
- Best Postseason Major Leaguer: Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander
- Best Postseason Moment: Alex Bregman‘s 10th inning walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
- Best TV/Radio Call: Joe Buck and John Smoltz call Jose Altuve’s game-tying three-run blast in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
- Best Play (Offense): Nolan Arenado completes the cycle with a walk-off homer (video)
- Best Play (Defense): Austin Jackson‘s over-the-wall catch in the Red Sox’ bullpen (video)
- Best Single-Game Performance: Anthony Rendon‘s six-hit, three-homer, 10-RBI game (video)
- Best Player-Fan Interaction: Joey Votto gives Walter “Superbubz” Herbert a bat and jersey (video)
- Best Fan Catch: Fan’s brother-in-law grabs Yasiel Puig home run ball and chucks it back on the field (video)
- Best Manager: A.J. Hinch
- Best Executive: Jeff Luhnow
No surprises here — the world champion Astros ran away with seven awards, including those for Best Manger and Executive and a dual award for Best Major Leaguer of the Postseason. Altuve added to an impressive run this offseason after earning a Silver Slugger, two Players Choice Awards, Hank Aaron Award and MVP Award for his outstanding work in 2017, while Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge continued to be a lock for all AL rookie-based awards after locking down the Rookie of the Year title earlier this week.