Johnny Cueto shuts down the Cardinals, lowers ERA to 2.15

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Cincinnati is out of contention, but that didn’t stop Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman from combining on a three-hit shutout of St. Louis as the Reds took three of four games from the Cardinals.

Cueto did the heavy lifting with eight shutout innings and then Chapman did his usual thing in the ninth inning, striking out two batters for his 33rd save.

Cueto’s excellence has gotten somewhat overlooked just because Clayton Kershaw has been so ridiculously amazing for the Dodgers, but the Reds ace now has a 2.15 ERA in a league-leading 222 innings this season.

This is Cueto’s fourth straight season with a sub-3.00 ERA, which is especially remarkable because he calls the Reds’ hitter-friendly ballpark home.

Check out the MLB leaders in ERA since 2011 among pitchers with at least 500 innings:

Clayton Kershaw    2.10
JOHNNY CUETO       2.46
Chris Sale         2.79
Cliff Lee          2.89
Hisashi Iwakuma    2.93
Felix Hernandez    2.94

This season the Reds are 20-11 (.645) when Cueto starts and 50-66 (.431) when anyone else starts.