|Johnny Cueto left after just eight pitches in Game 1 of the NLDS in San Francisco. (AP)|
The Reds went all 162 games without an injury to one of their five starters -- and in the postseason they don't make it an inning before ace Johnny Cueto left Saturday's first game of the National League Division Series with what the team is calling back spasms. The good news is the Reds are calling the injury day-to-day.
After striking out Angel Pagan to start the game, Cueto got two strikes on Marco Scutaro, coming up lame after his second pitch to the Giants second baseman. Dusty Baker replaced Cueto with right-hander Sam LeCure.
LeCure got two ground outs to finish off the first. After recording two outs to start the second, LeCure walked Brandon Belt and gave up a double to Gregor Blanco. He intentionally walked Brandon Crawford before Giants starter Matt Cain lined out to end the inning. He was replaced by a pinch hitter -- probable Game 4 starter Homer Bailey -- in the top of the third.
Right-hander Mat Latos, scheduled to start Game 3 in Cincinnati on Tuesday, was sent to the bullpen to warm up after the first inning. Latos replaced LeCure in the third. A former Padre, Latos is 2-2 with a 1.67 ERA in six career starts at AT&T Park. He was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two starts against San Francisco this season.
"That didn't help any. I just hated to see Johnny in pain like that," Reds manager Dusty Baker told TBS during the broadcast. "Sam bridged the gap. I told the guys this was similar to losing Joey (Votto). We just have to find a way. Latos was pressed into duty and hopefully he can get us to our bullpen."
The Reds can replace Cueto on the roster but if they do, he would not be eligible to return for the National League Championship Series if needed. However, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told TBS the team plans to have Cueto start Game 3.
According to TBS' Tom Verducci, Cueto had complained of back spasms before the game and tried to pitch. During Pagan's at-bat, the Giants leadoff batter tried to call time, it wasn't called by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, but Cueto stopped himself anyway. On the replays it appeared Cueto winced after the aborted pitch and then seemed to be in pain afterward.