Johnny Cueto shuts out Giants, takes over as MLB ERA leader

8 Comments

Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second career shutout Sunday against the Giants and finally accrued enough innings to put himself into the ERA standings, where he now ranks first in the majors at 1.72.

Cueto overtook Jered Weaver for the ERA lead.  Weaver entered the day at 1.79, but he gave up three runs in a loss to the Tigers, leaving him at 1.88 for the season.

Because of a strained triceps muscle suffered in spring training, Cueto didn’t make his season debut until May 8.  With today’s performance, he’s now made 16 starts and he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in any of them.

Cueto, though, probably hasn’t been quite as good as his ERA suggests.  In his July 26 start against the Mets, he allowed six unearned runs in five innings.  For the season, 11 of the 32 runs he’s allowed have been unearned.  Weaver, in comparison, has allowed just one unearned run in 168 innings this season.

To qualify for the ERA title, a pitcher must throw one inning for every game his team has played.  Cueto is now at 109 2/3 innings, while the Reds have played 108 games.

Dave Martinez: “I don’t know what else to do”

Getty Images
2 Comments

One night after losing to the Cubs on a two-out, two-strike, down-three, pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam to the Cubs, the Washington Nationals were in a barn-burner against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Nats were down 1-0, then up 4-2, then down 6-4 following a big Cardinals rally in the eighth, capped by a big Matt Carpenter home run, before somehow getting up off the mat and tying things back up at 6 in the top of the ninth inning. The bullpen has been bad, but even shaky relievers are successful more often than we imagine them to be. Having lost two of the previous three due to bullpen hiccups, there was no special reason to think that they’d lose late once again.

Koda Glover took the mound and attempted to close things out. He got ahead of Paul DeJong 1-0 and then promptly threw three balls. Not wanting to put the winning run on first base to lead off the inning, Glover threw a fastball right over the plate and then watched DeJong deposit it over the left field fence and into the bullpen to give the Nats their second walkoff loss in around 24 hours:

After Sunday’s game Nats players and coaches all gave the usual “gotta forget this one and move on to the next game” quotes. After last night’s loss, however, rookie manager Dave Martinez said this: “I don’t know what else to do.”

That answer came in response to the cratering of Sammy Solis in that ugly eighth inning, but it might as well apply to any of the Nats relievers or, for that matter, the Nationals as a team. It’s a lost, floundering group, seven games back in the National League East and six back in the Wild Card race with a mob of teams in front of them. They have lost 21 one-run games and there is absolutely no one down in that pen that Dave Martinez can count on at the moment.

Closer Sean Doolittle has been on the disabled list for weeks and weeks. Kelvin Herrera is on the disabled list with shoulder problems. Ryan Madson, who gave up David Bote‘s grand slam on Sunday, said afterward that he is hurt and could very well hit the disabled list soon. GM Mike Rizzo shipped Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley out of town for allegedly being malcontents. That leaves Glover, Solis, Matt Grace, Greg Holland, Wander Suero and, I guess, thoughts and prayers for Martinez to turn to.

In his place I wouldn’t know what else to do either.