Johnny Cueto won’t be representing the Cincinnati Reds in the All-Star game, but the more pressing issue is the lack of run support he’s been provided recently.
Luckily for him, the offense seems to be coming around.
Cincinnati hopes to finish an 11-game trip with a third straight win and head into the break on a positive note Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
Cueto (9-5, 2.35 ERA) has lost his last two starts, mainly due to the one run of combined support he received. He gave up two earned runs over six innings of a 5-0 loss at San Francisco on June 28, then allowed three runs in seven innings of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.
“That’s life. I did my job,” Cueto said. “I didn’t have the help I want, but that’s the way it goes.”
Cueto’s start Sunday was referenced as the reason former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa excluded the right-hander from the NL All-Star team, as Cueto would be ineligible to pitch in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.
The right-hander and manager Dusty Baker feel he was snubbed, though Baker did not adjust his rotation to accommodate Cueto’s possible All-Star game selection.
Cueto is 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in three career starts versus the Padres, and he’ll look to improve those numbers while guiding the Reds (46-38) to 6-5 record on the trip after Saturday’s 6-5 victory.
After scoring one run in each of three consecutive defeats, Cincinnati has scored six times in consecutive games. Chris Heisey hit a two-run homer and Drew Stubbs added a solo shot Saturday.
“You struggle some times, but with us we don’t put our heads down,” said Todd Frazier, who went 2 for 4. “We understand we have the bats to get the job done.
“We win out (Sunday) and it gives us a winning trip and a chance to go into the break on a good note.”
The Padres (34-52), meanwhile, have dropped two straight after capping their season-high six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory in Thursday’s series opener.
Chris Denorfia homered and Logan Forsythe went 3 for 4 with two RBIs in Saturday’s defeat for San Diego, which is hitting an NL-worst .234 and won’t have a position player representing it at the All-Star game.
Chase Headley extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and Carlos Quentin had an RBI single after going hitless in his previous 21 at-bats.
Reds All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth, reaching 102 mph on his final pitch.
“We just couldn’t that one extra-base knock to inch us closer,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
San Diego will send the struggling Jason Marquis to the hill seeking to get back on track.
Marquis (3-8, 5.82), one of 13 different starters the Padres have used this season, is 0-3 with a 4.44 ERA over his last four starts, giving up four runs in 6 1-3 innings of San Diego’s 8-6 win over Arizona on Wednesday.
He has lost eight of his past nine starts.
The veteran right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA in his last four starts versus the Reds, though he hasn’t faced them since 2009.