Both senators from Ohio -- Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman -- attended Tuesday's marquee matchup of Cueto vs. Max Scherzer when the Reds played the Nationals at Nationals Park. Cueto dominated with a two-hit shutout, striking out 11 in a 5-0 victory over Washington.
"Absolutely, I think Cueto is the best pitcher in the National League," Portman said. "His record this year would not back me up, but it's because we've had some difficulty with our middle relievers, and frankly, our bats. It's not his fault. He's got a good ERA, and you're seeing what he's doing tonight."
Brown hails from northern Ohio and is a diehard Indians fan, but he roots for the Reds when they don't play Cleveland. He is also behind Cueto.
"I'm going to vote tonight, I promise," Brown said. "Johnny Cueto is beating the Cy Young Award winner from two years ago, so why wouldn't you pick him tonight? Cueto is such a great pitcher. He's one of the four or five best pitchers in the National League. He ought to be chosen."
Cueto is battling for votes against Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia and Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
Because both are tasked to cast votes in the Senate next Tuesday, neither Brown nor Portman will be able to attend that night's All-Star Game. However, Portman will be in town on Sunday for the celebrity softball game and plans to watch the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders on Monday.
"I'm really looking forward to it. It's great for the city," Portman said. "It's terrific for the economy, but it's bigger than that. It's about Cincinnati being such a strong baseball town. It's about time it got the All-Star Game back."