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Johnny Cueto: Still Waiting for His Return to Greatness

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants reacts as he returns to the dugout after forcing Luis Valbuena #18 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to hit into a double play to end a bases loaded threat in the sixth inning of the game at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants reacts as he returns to the dugout after forcing Luis Valbuena #18 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to hit into a double play to end a bases loaded threat in the sixth inning of the game at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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With Johnny Cueto returning to the starting rotation, the San Francisco Giants looked to get a shot in the arm from the veteran pitcher. Such was not the case.

It was clear early the Johnny Cueto did not have his best stuff. The St. Louis Cardinals proceeded to touch up Cueto for five runs in the first two innings.

Tallying only two strikeouts and giving up 10 hits throughout his outing, Johnny Cueto struggled most with finding command of his fastball.

And as was seen, when you can’t locate your fastball effectively, teams take advantage.

Though it was a disheartening loss for the San Francisco Giants, it is good to have Johnny Cueto back before the All-Star Break.

The Giants ranked 16th in the league in ERA, posting a 4.01 ERA coming into their series with the Cardinals and having Cueto back can help them improve that number.

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Before his injury Cueto had given up three runs in 32 innings of work. If he is able to find that level of success during the second half of the season, there is no telling the type of lift he could be to this team.

Even with tempered expectations coming into his first start back in the Majors, it is fair to say that Johnny Cueto was expected to look better. Five runs in five innings of non-competitive baseball does not make for a strong outing.

While it is wrong to throw all of the blame on Cueto in a game that showed the inconsistency of the Giants, it is never easy to come back from a big deficit early.

Cueto’s next two starts haven’t been great either. Against the Chicago Cubs on Jully 11 he gave up three runs over five innings on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.

He gave up four runs over seven innings in his last outing on July 22.

As questions begin to surround the Giants on whether they will buy or sell, Cueto’s name could be possibly floated around in a trade.

The future of Johnny Cueto as a Giant may hinge on the success of his next couple outings.

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