Apr 22, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Reds won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Reds-Braves Game 3 Preview

The Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves  have one of the best pitching staff in the national league, the Braves have the best in baseball. Today’s series finale between the two is set up to be a pitchers duel.

Johnny Cueto has been the Cueto of 2012, so far in this young season for the Reds.

Braves ace Juilo Teheran has been dominant to start the season, he will try to help them sweep this series this afternoon  while the Reds would love for Cueto to accomplish a very rare feat.

Atlanta is atop the NL East thanks in large part to a 2.14 staff ERA, tops in baseball.

The Braves got another terrific effort on the mound Saturday, when rookie pitcher David  Hale allowed one run and two hits in eight innings of a 4-1 win over Cincinnati.

The Reds got to Teheran last season in his only start the against Cincinnati  on July 14, he surrendered five runs and two homers in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 home defeat.

Cincinnati hasn’t needed much to back Cueto recently. The right-hander has tossed back-to-back complete games, throwing a three-hitter in a 4-0 win over Pittsburgh on April 16 before doing it again to the Pirates on Tuesday in a 4-1 road victory.

Cueto now has a chance to become the first Red to string together three straight complete games since Jose Rijo did it bridging 1991 and ’92. Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee was the last to do it in the majors from June 16-28, 2011.

“He’s learned how to pitch, he’s a great competitor and he doesn’t give in to anyone,” manager Bryan Price said. “For a guy who doesn’t look like a world-class athlete, he sure plays the game like one.”

Cueto is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in five starts against Atlanta, including a complete-game defeat at Turner Field on May 29, 2011. He failed to go beyond the fourth inning in the most recent start there May 15, 2012, giving up six runs and eight hits.

Cueto will have to contend with Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman, who have combined for three homers and six hits in this series.

Upton has homered in both games, connecting for a solo shot, one of his three hits, Saturday. The left fielder has a .408 average over his last 14 meetings with the Reds, while Freeman is batting .375 with 10 RBIs in the past eight.

First pitch is at 1:35pm on FSN OHIO or 700 WLW.

Tags: Bryan Price Cincinnati Reds Johnny Cueto Reds

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