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Baker talks Reds rotation without Cueto

CINCINNATI -- The Reds entered Monday with the second-best rotation ERA in the Majors at 3.29, trailing only the Dodgers (3.16). Asked if his surging club had the advantage in the National League Central race over the Cardinals and Pirates because of its rotation, Reds manager Dusty Baker disagreed.

"Not without Johnny Cueto, I don't," Baker replied. "They're all good staffs. Aren't the Pirates the No. 1 staff around? And they got more depth than we have because you see the number of players they've called up. The Cardinals, how many guys have they called up? And how many have the Pirates called up?"

Cueto has been out since June because of a strained right lat muscle. Pittsburgh lost lefty Wandy Rodriguez to a forearm strain and St. Louis has been without Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia. The rotations of St. Louis and Pittsburgh were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league.

"That's only part of the equation," Baker said. "Starting pitching's not necessarily going to take you there, but it's going to get you pretty close."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Cueto