PITTSBURGH -- Middle- and late-inning relievers often stay under the radar, and are only noticed when things are going bad. But it'd be hard to ignore what Reds reliever Sam LeCure has done this season.
The right-handed LeCure, who entered Sunday with a 1.16 ERA in 21 appearances this season, has not allowed a run in any of his 10 appearances. He's also stranded all six of his inherited baserunners. His role can be a thankless one, but that's fine with LeCure.
"I'm not looking for thanks," said LeCure, who has nine walks and 25 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. "I'm not looking for anybody to thank me for doing what I'm supposed to be doing, basically. [Closer Aroldis Chapman] is the guy on the mound at the end of the game. He's the last guy people see, and that's fine. That's perfect. That's why he's there."
LeCure has worked in a variety of situations -- five times throwing more than one inning and four times throwing two innings. In a win over the Indians on Tuesday, he faced just one batter with two men on and the go-ahead run at the plate in Asdrubal Cabrera -- whom he struck out.
"I don't yearn for recognition or anything like that," LeCure said. "I want the respect of the guys in here. You want guys around the league to respect what you do. But if I had to choose between the rest of the league and the guys in here, I [couldn't] care less about what anybody around the league says. I want [my teammates] to have the confidence that [I'm] put in there to do the job and that's it. I try not to make it any more complicated than that."
LeCure has pitched one perfect inning in each of the first two games of the series vs. the Pirates.
"I think the last couple of times out haven't been pretty," LeCure said. "Any time you come out with a zero is a good thing. We're going to be in a lot of tight ballgames this year. Fortunately, I've gotten away with some things the last couple of times out, but I feel like I'm throwing the ball well overall. Sometimes those outings you're not as happy with can be a springboard for you to the next one, because you're aware that you have to tighten it up."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.