Johnny Cueto spoke up Tuesday night, called out his offense (or what passes as an offense) for a lack of support.
And who can blame him? Johnny Beisbol is pitching as good as any pitcher in baseball and his record is 3-and-4.
In his last two starts, his Cincinnati Reds teammates have scored him exactly zero runs. In his four losses, they’ve score a sordid total of two — 4-1 to St. Louis, 6-1 to St. Louis, 5-0 to Atlanta and on Tuesday night 3-0 to Kansas City.
Speaking to Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day after Tuesday’s game, Cueto, as always, spoke through translator Tomas Vera.
“I did my job and I expect the rest of the team to do theirs,” Cueto said. “You want to have a little more run support, but there’s nothing you ca do. I did what I had to do.”
CUETO GAVE UP THREE runs and nine hits in seven innings. He has made nine starts this year and produced six quality starts (six or more innings and three or less runs).
Cueto is in his walk year, eligible for free agency after the season and is sniffing after a $200 million contract. And a 3-4 record doesn’t look good on his resume. But scouts from other teams watch the games and know what is going on, so what is happening really doesn’t reflect his worth.
As the team’s No. 1 starter, Cueto is usually going to be facing the other team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter and the Reds do not do well against good pitching.
And manager Bryan Price understands that.
“When you’re the No. 1, you’re matching up with other teams’ No 1 or No. 2, that’s your responsibility,” said Price. “You force them to beat you with their bats and that’s what they (Royals) did. He did his job. It can be frustrating. But that’s life. That’s baseball.”
MAYBE CUETO NEEDS to cut those jheri curls and sacrifice them to Jobu.
Price certainly is giving it the old college try in an attempt to inject fuel into the offense tank. He has maneuvered his batting orders like a Three-Card Monte shyster. He has used enough lineup cards to fill a canasta deck. So far, so bad.
He waited as long as he could wait on Billy Hamilton to find ways to get on base the way leadoff hitters need to do. But a .211 batting average, a .260 on base percentage and 29 strikeouts and 10 walks in 34 games just doesn’t cut it. So Price moved Hamilton to the bottom of the batting order.
HE HAS USED A company platoon in the No. 2 hole and he has moved Marlon Byrd and Jay Bruce around in the order. He wanted Devin Mesoraco to bat cleanup but the hip-inflicted catcher has been missing in action behind the plate for more than a month.
Nothing has worked.
The Reds rank 22nd among 30 major league teams in offense with a team batting average of .238 and on-base percentage of 312. And that’s despite the fact they lead baseball in stolen bases and are third in home runs. A major problem is that close to 50 per cent of the Reds’ runs are produced by home runs.
So, obviously, Cueto isn’t the only Reds pitcher suffering from run support deficiency. But because of Cueto’s efficiency without support, it stands out like Cueto’s jhrei curls and Twisted Sister wind-up.