Johnny Cueto: For Cincinnati Reds Pitchers, the Magic Number Is 26

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Johnny Cueto: For Cincinnati Reds Pitchers, the Magic Number Is 26
John Grieshop/Getty Images
Johnny Cueto celebrates clinching the NL Central crown with his teammates. He's hoping there will be more celebrations coming in October.

The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of history. That’s a given considering they’re the oldest professional team in baseball.

But great pitching is one thing the Reds have never had. There have been moments, such as Johnny Vander Meer’s consecutive no-hitters or Tom Browning’s perfect game. But great seasons have been elusive for the Reds, who are the only nonexpansion team that has never won a Cy Young Award.

Johnny Cueto, though, is trying to change that. The Reds ace is scheduled to make his last regular season start Sunday at Pittsburgh, where he could be the first Cincy pitcher in 24 years to win 20 games.

Cueto anchors a starting rotation that has yet to miss a start due to injury this season and is second in team ERA. It’s not necessarily surprising since Cueto did pitch well in 2011—his 2.31 earned run average (ERA) would have been second best had he pitched just six more innings.

This year, Cueto has put together one of the best seasons for a Reds starter in the last 30 years. One thing going in his favor: he’s 26 years old.

When you look back over the last 30 years, there aren’t many great pitching lines for Reds starters. But when there is a great line, it’s likely by a 26-year-old. Here’s a look at five of the best seasons for a Reds starter since 1982.

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