Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto allowed just two runs over eight innings in a 3-2 victory over the Rockies last night at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. In doing so, he became the first pitcher in the majors to reach 15 wins this season.
Cueto gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six batters. The 28-year-old has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts and hasn’t lost a start since July 2.
After being limited to just 11 starts last season due to injury, Cueto has compiled a 2.06 ERA over 26 starts this season while putting up the best strikeout (9.0 K/9) and walk rates (2.3 BB/9) of his career. His exploits are especially impressive when you consider that he makes half of his starts in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw still deserves to be the favorite for the National League Cy Young Award, but Cueto isn’t too far behind him.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.