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.