Johnny Cueto earned his 100th MLB win in style, with a shutout. Going the distance, Cueto struck out 11 San Diego Padres while giving up seven hits and walking just one batter as his San Francisco Giants earned the victory, 1-0.
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 27, 2016
As Andrew Baggarly noted in the Mercury News, Johnny Cueto came into the ninth inning with 111 pitches. A double-play in the eighth inning kept Cueto’s pitch count at a reasonable level, where he could come out for the ninth and try for the shutout. Wil Myers struck out, and Travis Jankowski was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the eighth inning for Cueto and the Giants.
In the ninth inning, Cueto got some assistance from teammate Hunter Pence, who made a sliding catch for the first out. Melvin Upton Jr. flied out to right field, and Padres’ catcher Derek Norris grounded out to third base to seal the victory for Johnny and the Giants.
Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy has certainly been impressed with Cueto’s performance this season, as recounted on the MLB website.
“He’s like an artist out there.”
Baseball has always been a game of numbers. The significance of the 100-win milestone was not lost on Johnny Cueto.
“It’s a special number for a pitcher — 100, 200. As a pitcher, you always want to win as much as you can.”
Cueto has now improved his pitching record to 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA while with San Francisco this season. The Giants are tied for second place with the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1.5 games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers.
9 IP, 11 K, shutout.
Johnny Cueto dominates to give the Giants the win and earn his 7th career shutout. pic.twitter.com/ZGiq0XY04U
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) April 27, 2016
Next up for Johnny Cueto will be the Cincinnati Reds, the team with which he made his name. Cueto will be pitching at the Great American Ballpark on Monday of next week.
Breaking into the major league with the Reds back in 2008, Cueto wasn’t immediately a star. In his first season with Cincinnati, Cueto put up a 4.81 ERA. Although he was giving up runs, he did show a proclivity towards striking out batters, whiffing 158 in 174 innings, according to the Baseball-Reference website.
In each of his first four MLB seasons, Johnny would see his ERA drop, as he surely wanted it to. By the 2011 season, Cueto put up a very respectable 2.31 ERA. For 2012, Cueto led the league in starts with 33. He also struck out 170 batters in 217 innings.
Beset by injuries during 2013, Cueto managed to start just 11 games. He kept his ERA down in those starts, however, putting up a 2.82 mark and striking out 51 batters in 60 innings.
For 2014, Johnny Cueto was back with a vengeance. He led the league in several categories that season, including starts (34), innings-pitched (243.2) and strikeouts (242). For his efforts, Cueto was named to the All-Star team and was second in the National League Cy Young Award voting, behind only Clayton Kershaw.
Despite Cueto’s phenomenal performance in 2014, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in the summer of 2015. That trade was a smart move by the Royals as it helped put them over the top. While Cueto wasn’t superb during the stretch run towards the post-season, he did fare well in October for Kansas City, and in particular in the World Series. Cueto earned the win in the one game he started.
Heading back to Cincinnati, where Cueto earned 92 of his 100 wins, there are bound to be some emotions stirred up. Having left the Reds via trade, Cueto is now a 100 game-winner with a World Series ring, who will certainly get a reaction from the fans as he steps on the mound in Cincinnati on Monday.
[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]