Cueto Excruciatingly Effective In 2-1 Giants Victory

Apr 5, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Like a crafty lefty, you know; the one the Giants were trying to get when they last spent huge money on pitching, Johnny Cueto showed his teammates and fans what is in store for them this season. If a pitcher can be both quick and calculated, he was it. It was like watching a doctor perform surgery to the strike zone. 

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Following a 12-run outburst in their opening day win over the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco Giants relied on the arm of one of their newest acquisitions to bring them victory number two. And after seeing the defense he has behind him, Cueto may soon be calling his agent to pick up the option years on his contract.

It’s got to be reassuring on the mound to know that when you get a ground ball, it’s not likely to get through the infield. And with Angel Pagan in left, Denard Span n center, and Hunter Pence in right, fly balls can’t have much loft or they’ll be caught. So if you prevent line drives and keep hitters off-balance, your golden. And that is precisely what Cueto did, keep them off-balance.

His varied deliveries really do bother the hitters. Having a pitcher who prevents you from timing him really disrupts an at bat. And his ability to still throw strikes with an abbreviated motion is really amazing.

Not only does he keep the ball down, but he can also add a few miles per hour when he needs to. He showed why he is a co-ace with Madison Bumgarner, and why he won’t burn out down the stretch, he stays in the moment.

Now as for the game, the offense had a few opportunities to drive in more runs, and left them on the table.

The Brewers only run came on a double-play ball hit by Ramon Flores with runners on 1st and 3rd in the second inning. A run in Miller Park doesn’t seem like enough to win a game, and it didn’t at the time.

For the Giants, it was Brandon Crawford going deep in the top of the third inning. It was one similar to Joe Panik‘s from the day before. A no-doubter to right field. Crawford, who went 2-4, had said in an interview before the game against the Sacramento River Cats that he would be looking for strikes early on in counts when he is hitting in front of the pitcher, which is exactly what he did tonight.

The other run was scored on a one-out chopper to short off the bat of Matt Duffy. Hunter Pence was forced out, but Duffy was able to beat out the throw to first, scoring Panik who was 2-4 on the day and continues to hit the ball hard.

The Giants had two other good opportunities to drive runs in, but Belt popped out with the bases loaded and no outs before Duffy’s RBI ground-out. The other chance was in the sixth, when Panik had reached third with one out and Pence popped out to first.

The bullpen had a clean game, as Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless eighth and Santiago Casilla had two strikeouts in his one, two, three ninth; earning his first save.

It was a game that the Giants ultimately pulled out. The games where the team finds a way to win, especially on the road, are just as important as the ones later in the year. Every game this year is going to count. Going into this series, winning two out of three was a fair scenario. but the lack of hitting today means that they are likely to score more runs tomorrow. And a series sweep to open the season looks very promising.

Next: Interview With Sports Astrologer Andrea Mallis

Tomorrow: Jeff Samardzija will go for the Giants and Taylor Jungmann will go for the Brewers in the 10:40 am pacific start. Matt Garza was scheduled to start, but landed on the disabled list to start the season. The game is on CSN-BA and KNBR.