Reds: Cueto avoids ‘empty’ pitches

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CINCINNATI — Johnny Cueto got an extra day of rest before he tries to extend his amazing streak of starts.

The game last night between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds was postponed because of rain and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader today.

Ian Kennedy (2-4) will face Cueto (3-2) in the first game. Tyson Ross (4-3) will start the second game for San Diego. The Reds hadn’t decided on their starter.

For Cueto, it’s a chance to add to a rare streak of season-starting domination.

Cueto has 68 strikeouts in his first eight starts, the most by any Reds pitcher since 1900. He’s the first major-leaguer to open the season with at least seven innings and two or fewer runs allowed in each of his first eight starts since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela did it in 1981, according to STATS.

“I’m amazed and, yet, not surprised,” manager Bryan Price said. “I’ve talked with Johnny before in the past about empty pitches, pitches that were thrown that didn’t really serve a purpose — the high fastball or a slider that misses way off the plate — that doesn’t serve any value.

“He has thrown so few of those pitches this year. He’s around the plate with everything. When he’s not, he’s teasing the hitter just off the plate or just below the zone or just above the zone. As much as we’ve talked about the potential concern for number of innings, he’s quite pitch efficient.”

And now, Cueto got an extra day of rest because of the weather.

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