Tag:Johnny Cueto
Posted on: September 2, 2011 4:41 pm

On Deck: Verlander chases 21, 'Zona 10 straight

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

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DiamondbacksGiantsGone streaking: Arizona will chase its 10th straight victory Friday night as a series with the Giants open. San Francisco is flagging, six games behind the DBacks and with a tall task at hand. Matt Cain will get the ball with a 2.87 ERA and the task of opening the weekend series with a statement, while Joe Saunders will be the man to go for 'Zona, who has a 3.69 ERA. San Francisco cut ties with Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada on Thursday and are recalling a smattering of players to help for the stretch drive, which will be moot if they can't come away with a series win or sweep. To win though, the Giants have to start scoring some runs. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

VerlanderVerlander time: Justin Verlander is appointment-viewing these days. The Tigers ace will take his blazing fastball up against the White Sox, who are 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Detroit. Friday is the first of seven remaining meetings both teams have, and Chicago needs to do well to stay in the race. "I feel like we have to win the series to be really optimistic for the rest of the year," Brent Lillibridge told the Associated Press. "We're ready. We've been playing good baseball." So has Verlander, whose won his last nine games and will tote a 20-5 record and slim 2.39 ERA up against John Danks, a lefty with a 3.63 ERA on the year. White Sox vs. Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET

CuetoCarpenterBattle for second: The streaking Cardinals are winners of their last four, which has pulled them to 7 1/2 games, which is still a tough task.  The Reds, meanwhile, are on a skid having lost four straight to fall to 13 1/2 back. Cincinnati has a pretty good pitcher toeing the mound Friday night in an attempt to finish the year strong and in second place with MLB ERA leader Johnny Cueto going up against Chris Carpenter. Cueto, owner of a 2.05 mark, is coming off a game where he recorded a career-high 11 whiffs, but Carpenter is on a roll himself and has defeated the Reds the last two times out. Reds vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 28, 2011 10:56 am

On Deck: Weaver goes after Rangers


By Matt Snyder

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Halos in the heat: An Angels victory in Texas Sunday would trim the Rangers' AL West lead to one game -- and knot the two at 60 in the loss column. The Angels want this series bad enough that Jered Weaver, like Ervin Santana did Saturday night, is going to work on three days' rest for the first time this season. Assuming he's feeling strong, Weaver should prove a tough opponent for the Rangers. In four starts against Texas this season, Weaver has a 1.86 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 25 strikeouts. The Rangers have hit Weaver well at home in the past, so the offense will look to turn back the clock Sunday in the triple-digit heat. Colby Lewis (11-9, 4.07) gets the ball for the home team. Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

Snakes on a run: It appears those waiting on the upstart Diamonbacks to come back to Earth are going to be waiting for quite a while. The D-Backs have now won five in a row and hold a three-game lead in the NL West over the defending champion Giants. Sunday looks like one the D-Backs should get, too, on paper. Potential NL Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy (16-4, 3.09) will face off against one of the league's more anemic offenses in the Padres. Cory Luebke (5-6, 2.91) will go for the Padres and he's having a sneaky-good season, so this could be a low-scoring affair. Padres at Diamondbacks, 4:05 p.m. ET.

Swan song: Jordan Zimmermann is overshadowed in terms of hype because he's pitching in the same organization as Stephan Strasburg -- who was light's out Saturday night in a rehab start -- but Zimmermann deserves plenty of attention himself. In his first season back since having Tommy John surgery, like Strasburg, Zimmermann has a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 157 innings. He's on an innings limit, as the Nats look to protect his arm, so Sunday will mark his final outing of the season. Strasburg will take his rotation spot eventually, so we'll have to wait until 2012 to see them in the rotation together. They're likely a very formidable 1-2 punch in the future. Sunday, Zimmermann (8-11, 3.10) will look to break a five-game losing streak for the Nats. They'll face Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.43) and the Reds. Reds at Nationals, 1:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:47 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Sans chicken wings, Cueto's back

By Matt Snyder

Johnny Cueto, Reds. Cueto had been rolling right along, sporting a 1.72 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 16 starts. He was coming off a shutout when he was shelled by the Cubs last Saturday for seven hits and five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. What was wrong? Cueto said he had chicken wings and his stomach wasn't feeling right when he took the hill. So this time around he avoided the wings and got back on track. Thursday, Cueto worked seven shutout innings against the Rockies, giving up just three hits and walking two while striking out nine in a 2-1 victory. He trimmed his league-leading ERA down to 1.94.

St. Louis Cardinals. If the Cardinals lost this one, they'd have fallen six games back to a Brewers team that is playing as well as anyone right now. That isn't an insurmountable deficit, but it would be quite the climb. Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter was touched up for two runs in the top of the first, too, but after that everything fell into place for the Cardinals. Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols hit first-inning homers to tie it. Pujols didn't let up, going 4-for-4 on the night with Matt Holliday sidelined. Carpenter labored at times, yet found a way to battle through eight innings without allowing a third run. Closer Fernando Salas worked a perfect ninth. The defense was actually good, too, as the Cardinals turned four double plays in the 5-2 win. They're still four games out and the Brewers are still the favorite, but this was a game the Cardinals needed in this race.

Mark Buehrle, White Sox. The veteran threw eight innings, allowing only six hits and three runs while walking none and striking out six. He picked up the win as the White Sox remained four games out in the AL Central, yet crept to within one of second-place Cleveland. While it was a good outing, Buehrle's in this spot because it marked his 18th stright start in which he allowed three runs or less (Mark Gonzales on Twitter). That guy gives his team a chance to win every single time he takes the ball. And he's talking retirement after this year as he's set to hit free agency. He's only 32.

Brad Mills, Blue Jays. This just in: Oakland isn't very good at offense. Entering Thursday, only the Mariners had scored fewer runs among AL teams. But the A's lit Mills up. He only lasted three innings, allowing five hits and six earned runs in a 10-3 Blue Jays' loss. Maybe the Man in White switched sides. I mean, guys don't just hit in that stadium without some kind of extra help, right?

Nationals in ninth. The Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out against fickle Cubs closer Carlos Marmol Thursday afternoon. The deficit was two and it appeared Marmol had no idea where any of his pitches were going. After an Ian Desmond strikeout -- in which he fought off several pitches out of the zone -- Wilson Ramos had an infield single to cut it to one. Brian Bixler followed with a check-swing strikeout before Rick Ankiel flew out to the warning track to end it. Of all the balls the Nats swung at in the ninth, I'm gonna guess about 35 percent were actually in the strike zone. Even their two hits were of the infield variety.

Nyjer Morgan, Brewers. I rarely have a problem with players on opposing teams having a shouting match. In fact, I quite prefer that kind of fire rather than befriending the opponents. It's supposed to be a competition. But when your teammates are telling you to stop, it's probably a bit ridiculous. According to multiple reporters (including Derrick Goold) at the game, the brief stoppage of play in the top of the eighth inning was due to Morgan yelling at Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter from the dugout. Teammates were reportedly trying to get him to stop and when the camera cut to home plate, Prince Fielder and Yadier Molina could actually be seen laughing about it. If the two clubs are at odds, that's competition. If there's only one guy yelling and everyone else is either telling him to stop or laughing, well, that's a bit out of whack.

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Posted on: August 11, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 2:56 pm

On Deck: Pivotal series come to a close

By Evan Brunell

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VerlanderVERLANDER TIME: The Indians have taken the first two games of the three-game set between AL Central rivals, leaving Cleveland just two games behind the Tigers for the lead. Unfortunately, Cleveland only has one Ubaldo Jimenez, and he pitched on Wednesday. That leaves Fausto Carmona, he of a 5.9 ERA, to do battle against Justin Verlander. That's a tall task, what with Verlander's amazing season leaving him in contention for the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander can accomplish two things on Thursday: first, the righty can snap Cleveland's 13-game winning streak against Detroit in Progressive FIeld, and he can also become the majors' first 17-game winner. Tigers vs. Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET

GallardoCarpenterGONE STREAKING: Another pivotal Central series comes to an end Thursday as well, except this one is over in the NL. The streaking Brewers are attempting to rip off a 6-0 road streak, their seventh straight win, push their MLB-best home record to 42-15 and extend their division lead to six games. Boy, that's a lot of accomplishments to reach in one game. The pitching matchup is pretty even, at least if you consider only ERA. Milwaukee has Yovani Gallardo with a 3.56 ERA toeing the mound, while St. Louis counters with a 3.75 figure. Brewers vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET

RockiesRedsPITCHING DUEL: A pretty solid pitching matchup highlights this game, with Johnny Cueto taking the mound for the Reds and jockeying for the best ERA in in the game. Cueto's already qualified previously for the best ERA, but he fell out of consideration because he's right on the bubble to qualify for the lead. He's missed so much time, that even waiting five days for his next start can drop him out. All he needs is 4 2/3 innings and he reclaims his spot atop the ERA leaderboard. He won't have an easy time of it, as the Rockies will throw out Jhoulys Chacin, who has had a fine year in his first full season. He stumbled in July with a 4.97 ERA but has turned in two straight strong starts Rockies vs. Reds, 12:35 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 11:19 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Cueto takes MLB lead in ERA


By Evan Brunell

UpJohnny Cueto, Reds: Cueto spun a gem on Sunday, finally qualifying for MLB leaderboards. Now that he's qualified, he boasts baseball's lowest ERA at at a scant 1.74, going the distance for a complete-game shutout, allowing three hits and one walk, while striking out six. People have been waiting for a breakout for Cueto for years, and while he's putting together the best season of his career, he's also been inordinately lucky, limiting home runs and allowing just 23 percent of batted balls to fall in for hits, compared to the league average of 29 percent. Not that his fantasy owners (me) are complaining.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies: Ibanez is an incredibly streaky hitter, being a valued member of the Philadelphia lineup in both May and July, but an albatross in the other two months. That doesn't bode well for August, does it? Anyways, Ibanez blasted two home runs against the Pirates, the latter blow tying the game in the bottom eighth before Philly walked off in the 10th. His four RBI were 2/3s of Philadelphia's total, and boosted his overall line to .247/.293/.434 which tells you how anemic he was in April and June.

Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks: Saunders is on fire, throwing 7 2/3 innings of a victory to even his record up at 8-8. He allowed just two runs, walking none and striking out three. This is part of a larger pattern for Saunders, who was roundly criticized upon his trade to Arizona last season for Dan Haren. Saunders has found the senior circuit to his liking, posting a 3.56 ERA despite pitching in a hitter's park and has pitched 16 2/3 innings of a possible 18 in his last two starts. In July, Saunders didn't allow more than three earned runs in his six starts, a big reason why Arizona has stayed in playoff contention.

Honorable mention: Justin Verlander came oh-so-close to his second no-hitter of the season, not his first flirtation with that honor. Instead, he ended up holding on for the win in what turned into a crazy game.

DownTommy Hanson, Braves: Hanson didn't exactly get hit hard, but he give up three runs in six innings. Good enough for a quality start, but despite striking out seven, he also walked three. The start means Hanson has given up 18 runs in his last 23 1/3 innings, comprised of four starts. For comparison, prior to July, the most runs Hanson had ever given up in one month alone, never mind four starts, was 10, accomplished twice in April and May before dropping to six earned in June over four starts. So that should illustrate both how good Hanson has been and the rough stretch he's entered, which has spiked his ERA to 3.13.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Westbrook took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but coughed up a walk to Koyie Hill -- the No. 8 hitter -- with one out in the sixth. The wheels came off after that, and when it was all said and done, Westbrook had given up three hits, three walks and struck out three in six innings, allowing four earned runs. Every single one of those hits, walks and runs came in the sixth. That's one way to blow up a no-no.

Trade deadline losers: The Dodgers, Orioles and Cubs were colossal losers at the trade deadline. The Dodgers traded away a potential high-impact bat for three organizational guys. The Orioles' entire season is officially a loss, and the Cubs incomprehensibly stood pat. Read more here, as well as who won the trade deadline.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 6:49 pm

Zito's Sunday start may be his last

Barry ZitoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Sunday may be Barry Zito's last start of the season for the Giants.

The left-hander will face-off against the Reds' Johnny Cueto on Sunday, but after that Jonathan Sanchez will be ready to come back to San Francisco's rotation.

"It'll come down to who we think are the five guys who are throwing the best, similar to what we had to do in the postseason," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "That was four starters and this is five, but it's the same situation."

And likely the same result -- Zito out.

Zito is 3-3 with a 5.24 ERA in eight starts this season. After starting the season 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his first six starts, he's been shelled in each of his last two outings. The offensively challenged Padres lit him up for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings on July 16 and the Phillies put up six runs on six hits in seven innings on Tuesday. 

Zito has two years left on his contract, paying him $39 million over the next two seasons and he'll then get a $7 million buyout when the club declines its 2014 option. He also has a full no-trade clause.

Sanchez is 4-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 16 starts, but hasn't pitched since June 24 with left biceps tendinitis. He led the majors in walks when he was put on the DL and had walked 25 batters in 25 2/3 innings in June.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:16 pm

On Deck: Dueling out west


By Matt Snyder

With six day games -- including several of pretty solid intrigue -- we'll hit you with On Deck early on this Wednesday. Why? Well, we aim to please. It is a full slate, as usual on a Wednesday, as there are nine night games. The last one of the night is one of the most exciting matchups, too. Let's dive in.

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Pair of aces: How does Clayton Kershaw (10-4, 2.88) vs. Tim Lincecum (8-7, 2.99) sound? Pretty awesome, right? Because that's happening Wednesday afternoon. Kershaw's Dodgers are 14-1/2 games behind Lincecum's first-place Giants in the NL West, but Kershaw has owned the offensively challenged Giants in his career. The major-league leader in strikeouts is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings against the defending champs. The Giants have a new toy in infielder Jeff Keppinger and have added prospect Brandon Belt to their punchless lineup in hopes to get things kickstarted, but Kershaw's a tall order. Then again, two-time Cy Young Award winner Lincecum is likewise a tall order for the Dodgers. Don't expect this one to last long, unless it goes 0-0 or 1-1 to extras. Oh, and did I mention that whole Dodgers-Giants rivalry? This is a must-watch. L.A. Dodgers at San Francisco, 3:45 p.m. ET.

Haren's tough task: While the afternoon game out west is a must-watch, so is the last game of the night. The Texas Rangers have opened up a five-game lead in the AL West on the strength of a 12-game winning streak. They had some huge offensive games early in the streak, but the pitching is doing the heavy lifting at this juncture. The Rangers have only allowed two runs in the past six games, which include four shutouts. Toeing the slab late Wednesday night is Derek Holland (8-4, 4.32), who just happens to have thrown a complete-game shutout in each of his last two outings. So the Angels need to find a way to scratch across some runs against one of the hottest pitchers -- and pitching staffs, for that matter -- in baseball, meanwhile cool off one of the best hitting teams in baseball. Dan Haren (10-6, 2.75) certainly has the ability to do so for the Angels. He's looking to stop the Rangers' 12-game winning streak and the Angels' three-game losing streak. Texas at L.A. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET.

More pitching:
The most underrated pitching matchup of the day just happens to include the first-place Pirates, who are catching the eye of the nation. Did you know the Pirates haven't had a winning season in 18 years? Of course, you did, but we aren't gonig to let you forget it if they continue to play like this. Tuesday, the Pirates got a 1-0 win in Cincinnati. Wednesday, one of the most -- if not the most -- surprising starters in the league takes the hill for the Bucs. Jeff Karstens (8-4, 2.34) ranks third in ERA in the NL among qualifiers, trailing only a pair of All-Stars in Ryan Vogelsong and Jair Jurrjens. Karstens has been lights-out since the beginning of June, though, as he's 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in that time. His counterpart Wednesday, Johnny Cueto (5-3, 2.01), is no slouch either. The Reds need a win to avoid a sweep and falling six games back in the NL Central. Of note: Karstens has a pretty bad career history against the Reds, though the Pirates are 7-1 against the Reds this season. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 12:35 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 5:14 pm

On Deck: Central showdowns


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Central showdown: Detroit is tied with Cleveland for the lead in the American League Central with the White Sox and Twins sitting five and six games back, respectively. While Chicago and Minnesota have had their struggles so far this season, they are by no means out of the race in what has been a mediocre division. Ozzie Guillen's squad plays Detroit six times in its next nine games, giving them a chance to either make up ground or get buried in the standings. A tough road back isn't any easier with Justin Verlander getting the start for the Tigers. White Sox at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Andrew MillerProving ground: Andrew Miller has pitched well in his first four starts for the Red Sox, accumulating a 3-0 record and a 3.57 ERA while Boston has won all four games he's started. However, his four starts have come against San Diego, Pittsburgh, Houston and Baltimore -- of those, only the Pirates have a winning record and only the Orioles have a team OPS better than the league average. The Rays aren't exactly breaking out murderer's row out there, but they're at least in the hunt in the American League East. Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Make or break?: The Reds start the second half four games back of lead in the National League Central and face off against the division-leading Cardinals at home, followed by three games in Pittsburgh before coming back home for three against the Braves, four against the Mets and three against the Giants. This stretch could put the Reds back at the top of the standings or burry them behind the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates in the division. Cincinnati has the man it wants on the mound, right-hander Johnny Cueto who enters the game 5-3 with a 1.96 ERA and allowed just one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss to the Cardinals on July 4. That day he was facing Chris Carpenter, this time it's Jake Westbrook. Cardinals at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com