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Cueto Back to Dealing on the Mound for Reds
Reds Tie for Best Record in Baseball, N.L. Top Seed
by Robb Hoff
September 25, 2012
The Cincinnati Reds passed one preliminary post-season test Tuesday night with flying colors: Johnny Cueto pitched like Johnny Cueto once again and he did so against a playoff-caliber offense in the potent Milwaukee Brewers.
Aside from one poorly located fastball to Brewers third-baseman Aramis Ramirez, Cueto kept the Brewers off balance through seven strong innings.
However, Cueto did give Reds Country a scare when he came up gimpy on the basepaths and stepped off the mound later in the game to stretch out whatever leg issue he had. Cueto looked no worse for wear afterwards, though, and kept on pitching like an ace.
The win over the Brewers puts the Reds in a tie for the best record in baseball with the Washington Nationals, but the Reds have to finish with a better record than the Nationals during the regular season to claim the top seed in the National League for the post-season.
On the down side for the Reds, the severity of Dusty Baker's condition became known -- a mini-stroke that will keep the Reds manager from rejoining the team in game action for most if not all of the rest of the regular season. Baker will no doubt push his health to rejoin the team for the playoffs and that could prove to be a huge surge of momentum for the Reds and just what the doctor ordered for Dusty.
Also on the down side, the Reds hitters struck out like Randy Johnson was pitching instead of Mike Fiers, who whiffed eight in less than five innings of work. Overall, center-fielder Drew Stubbs continued his incompetence at the plate with three K's and third-baseman Todd Frazier also fanned three times.
Another intriguing matchup is set for tomorrow with junk baller Bronson Arroyo poised to test his repertoire against the slugging Brewers. The Reds hitters will get a crack at Shaun Marcum, who can be a dominant pitcher at times and provides a good test for the playoff pitching the Reds hitters can expect to face.