Johnny Cueto favorite for Cy Young despite record

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Football News

You've probably heard that record can be a misleading statistic for a pitcher.

It doesn't always reflect how they are pitching, it reflects how good their team is too.

That's why stat-heads, or sabermatricians, disregard record completely. Last year, Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award while going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.

This season, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto is the early favorite to win the National League award with a 1.85 ERA and 0.77 WHIP but sits at 6-5 record-wise after breaking over .500 with a win Wednesday night.

In that effort, he struck out 12 batters in six innings and gave up just three hits. He's been averaging more than a strikeout per inning and really has had two poor outing surrounding by a ton of really good ones.

He gave up six earned runs to the Nationals on May 20 and gave up four in five innings in his previous start against the Phillies. Besides that, he hasn't allowed more than two runs in a game. And, in five of his 14 starts, he's allowed none.

"Johnny was doing what he does best, that's pitching. That's why we call him around here 'Johnny Beisbol,'" Reds catcher Brayan Pena told "He never backs down from any challenge. He knows this was very important for us. We didn't play those [first] two games against them the way we wanted to play. For him to step it up today, it was awesome."

At least Cueto doesn't pitch for the Cubs, where starter Jeff Samardzija has a 2.54 ERA and 1.13 WHIP to do with a lowly 2-5 record.

It's more like Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young with a 13-12 record on the last-place Mariners with a 2.27 ERA, beating out Rays starter David Price and his 19-6 record with a 2.72 ERA and CC Sabathia's 21-7 record with a 3.18 ERA.

"This confirms the Cy Young is an award not only for the pitcher with the most wins but the most dominant," a teary-eyed Hernandez told the Associated Press at the time while celebrating with relatives at the family home in Valencia, Venezuela.

Back to Cueto, the reason he was held to six innings on Wednesday night was because his pitch count reached 112. That made him the third Reds pitcher since 1914 to strike out 12 in six innings, joining his own start from April and Edinson Volquez from 2009.

"They really, really, worked on me. I was trying to strike out everybody, I'm going to tell you that," Cueto told through translator Tomas Vera.

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Cincinnati Reds
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