Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto has enjoyed great success this season with his reworked delivery, registering a superb 2.31 ERA across 156 innings.
But that might be where his numbers finish up.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the 25-year-old right-hander had to be removed from Wednesday’s game against the Cubs after suffering a strained right lat in the middle of the fourth inning.
Cueto wound up throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames, fanning two Cubs batters while scattering three hits.
A strained lat muscle is not a major injury and Cueto seemed to be in good spirits as he was exiting the field, but he’s likely to need over 10 days of recovery time and the regular season schedule wraps up this year on September 28 — exactly two weeks from tonight.
The Reds, currently 14 1/2 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central and 12 1/2 games back of the Braves in the Wild Card, have nothing to gain from rushing Cueto back. And they won’t rush him back.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.