Johnny Cueto makes it just four innings against Astros

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R.A. Dickey is the NL’s new ERA leader.

Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who had been wearing the crown, was hammered for four earned runs on nine hits Sunday afternoon against the Astros before exiting after just four frames. He struck out six and issued only one walk, but the typically light-hitting Houston lineup took advantage of balls left up in the zone and the ‘Stros are now in a position to snag two of three from first-place Cincy.

Cueto’s ERA jumped from 2.58 to 2.71 and his WHIP rose from 1.15 to 1.17. He has a 155/42 K/BB ratio in 192 2/3 total innings.

Dickey’s ERA is 2.64 and his WHIP is 1.03. He has 195 strikeouts and 45 walks in 198 innings.

The National League Cy Young Award might just go to a knuckeballer this season.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.