Johnny Cueto is a complete game-throwing machine

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Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto just made easy work of the Padres’ lineup, tossing a complete-game shutout in which he allowed just three hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 1.25.

Cueto has completed three of his nine starts this year, which already ties his career-high set in 2011. Coming into the season he had a grand total of six complete games in 160 starts.

And here’s another crazy stat, via Elias Sports Bureau: Cueto is the first pitcher with nine straight starts of seven innings innings or more and two runs or fewer to begin a season since Harry Krause in 1909.

Cueto was limited to just 11 starts last season because of injuries, but when he’s healthy and rolling there aren’t many pitchers better. Dating back to 2011 he’s started 77 games with a 2.42 ERA in 506 innings, which is the second-best ERA in all of baseball during that time behind only Clayton Kershaw at 2.19. No one else is below 2.80.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.