Rough night for Johnny Cueto:
0.2 IP, 5 H, 2 HR, 1 SO, 3 BB, 9 ER, 25 strikes, 49 pitches
Let’s take a look over his start using Pitchfx. Cueto threw over 50% strikes thanks to the home plate umpire who extended the zone a few times and forced the Phillies batters to swing at some pitchers they probably wouldn’t have otherwise. One glance at Cueto’s strike zone plot reveals that he’s not M.C. Escher when it comes to painting the corners. Cueto really wanted to stay away from lefties and he certainly accomplished that by avoiding the plate entirely.
Image courtesy of Brooksbaseball.net
Cueto could control neither his fastball nor change-up, but did seem to have a decent grip on his slider. Anytime a pitcher lacks fastball control he’s going to struggle; having the inability to control his off-speed stuff just put the nail in the coffin. More concerning for the Reds is that this is becoming a trend rather than an isolated incident. 51% of Cueto’s pitches in April and May were inside of the strike zone. Only 42% found the zone in June, and through two July starts that number is down to 40%. Cueto’s velocity is lacking any telltale signs of potential injury, and his velocity chart looks pretty normal:
Although the improved walk rate doesn’t reflect this, Cueto is actually throwing more balls this season, in part because his amount of whiffs has decreased. At the same time, Cueto’s run values have increased thanks to the Reds upgraded defense. If we were discussing the defensive independent version, I’m not so sure that would be the case.
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