Mets-Reds Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 22, 2013
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker remains cautiously optimistic about starter Johnny Cueto, who is just one start removed from a long stint on the disabled list. It's difficult to blame him given Cueto's injury history. Trying to move closer to securing a third playoff appearance in four years, Cincinnati sends Cueto to the mound in Monday night's series opener with the New York Mets. Cueto (5-2, 3.02 ERA) missed the start of the 2011 season with arm trouble, then went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA in 2012 to help the Reds win the NL Central. But after a healthy season, he left Game 1 of the division series against San Francisco after only eight pitches with pulled muscles in his side. The right-hander was enjoying a solid start to 2013 before straining a lat muscle in a loss to Texas on June 28, forcing him to the DL. He was activated last Monday, and threw five scoreless innings in his 6-1 win over Houston. "That's a tremendous shot in the arm for our team,'' Baker said. "Let's hope that he continues to be well, continues to get better (and) his endurance gets better.'' Though Cueto said he felt fine after that outing, Baker is taking a cautious approach, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. Cincinnati (89-67) still is in the mix for a second straight Central crown while leading Washington by 5 1/2 games for a wild-card spot. "There's not a whole bunch of people that can fill that slot better than Johnny," Baker told the team's official site. "It depends on how he feels, and there's a chance (the final six) games are going to be pretty important." The Reds have won five of six after taking two of three from Pittsburgh with Sunday's 11-3 win. They're tied atop the wild-card standings with the Pirates, who they face in a three-game series at home to end the regular season. "You can't overlook the Mets thinking about the Pirates and then the Mets mess you up," Baker said. "They're going to try and beat us, too." New York (71-84) is coming off a three-game sweep of Philadelphia after Sunday's 4-3 victory. Rookie Juan Lagares had three hits while driving in a run, and shortstop Wilfredo Tovar added an RBI single in the seventh in his major league debut. Philadelphia committed an error that allowed another run to score on Tovar's hit. The Mets are seeking their first four-game winning streak since July 7-10 as they send former Red Aaron Harang to the mound Monday. Harang (0-1, 4.91) went 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA with Seattle before being designated for assignment Aug. 26, though he's shown signs of improvement since signing with New York. The right-hander gave up three runs and struck out 10 in six innings while suffering a 7-2 loss to Washington on Sept. 12 before giving up four runs and striking out eight in five frames of the Mets' 5-4 comeback win over San Francisco on Wednesday. Harang, who went 75-80 for the Reds from 2003-10, is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts against his former team. He gave up two runs in six innings to beat Cincinnati 4-2 while with the Mariners on July 5.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Sacramento Kings seriously considering firing George Karl

Rick Pitino says school should be penalized, 'but not this team'

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban defends hack-a-player strategy

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jameis Winston awarded Pepsi NFL rookie of the Year

Trade Rumors: Clippers ‘reluctant’ to deal injured Blake Griffin

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

$40,000 in Super Bowl tickets stolen from San Francisco hotel

Rams fan makes Super Bowl commercial ripping Stan Kroenke

Panthers LB wants 'clown' Rodney Harrison off the air

Jason Reid: Tom Brady will play at least three more years

Kirk Cousins says he has ‘very good relationship’ with RG3

Super Bowl 50 ticket prices are insane

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker