Cueto now leads the league in wins
The Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander cruised through eight strong innings giving up two runs on six hits, allowing two walks and fanning six Colorado Rockies batters. Still the game was tied 2-2 going into the top of the ninth inning, putting his 15th win on the line.
Yet the go-ahead run came on an RBI single by Kris Negron and with Aroldis Chapman coming in to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning, it was all but guaranteed Johnny Cueto would get his Major League leading 15th win on the season.
Cueto referred to himself as the best pitcher in the game back in May. When asked if he was the best, he replied,
“I would say, yes, definitely yes. My numbers have to talk for me. Every time I go on the mound, I do my job. And I do my job to get the best numbers.”
He can still hold onto that, at least for now, in the wins category. Cueto is having an all around killer year. Not only is he the wins leader, he is fourth in the Majors in ERA with 2.06 ERA behind only Clayton Kershaw (1.78), Felix Hernandez (1.95) and Chris Sale (2.01).
This win was a huge one for the Reds who are now have a 61-61 record after losing three straight and five of their last six games. At .500 the Reds are in 4th place in the National League Central but the team still has postseason aspirations. Manager Bryan Price said after the game,
“It was a hard-fought 3-2 win. If this is what we’ve got to do the last 40 games of the season to get into the postseason, then that’s how it’s going to be. We’ll fight all the way to the very end.”
Chapman’s strikeout streak ends at 49
Chapman came in and was able to shut down the Rockies but he was unable to strikeout a batter for the first time in a record-setting 49-innings. The previous record holder was Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter who pitched 39 straight innings with at least one strike out. Chapman had had at least one strikeout in every appearance he made since August 21 of last year.
Chapman did however earn his 26th save on the year in 28 chances.
The game ended in dramtaic fashion as Chapman issued a one-out walk to Charlie Culberson before getting pinch-hitter Michael McKendry to line out directly to Brayan Pena at first. Culberson had no chance to get back to the bag as Pena came down and stepped directly on first, making an amazing double play. Pena, both a catcher and first baseman, had been catching Cueto but moved to first for the bottom of the ninth inning.
Pena said he was more disappointed than Chapman for the streak to end,
“Man, it was a little disappointing for me but not for him.He was very happy he got the save. He was very excited we won the game. You wanted him to go 100 games of striking people out. It’s part of the game.”
It’s true. Chapman was seen smiling as he hugged Pena after the game. That’s the thing about streaks, they always have to come to an end and Chapman was ok with that.