Heeeeeere's Johnny! Or more like who's Johnny? It's not so clear anymore after the most befuddling season of Johnny Cueto's mostly pristine career. He took it to new heights in 2014, nearly winning the Cy Young with NL-leading inning and strikeout totals, and he began 2015 much the same. But that's about the time the Reds traded to him to the Royals and the confusion began, his strikeout rate tanking as he struggled to find any consistency over his final 17 starts, playoffs included. He did experience a slight dip in velocity during that stretch, but it was months after his bout with elbow soreness, making health a questionable excuse. The move to the AL, then? Well, he's back in the NL after signing with the Giants. Without a clear explanation for his struggles, though, he's a boom-or-bust choice outside the top 20 starting pitchers.
Cueto agreed to a contract with the Giants on Monday, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. The details of the deal are still unclear, and it's pending a physical before becoming official, but Cueto appears to be returning to the National League as he heads to San Francisco. The 29-year-old was hit or miss in his half season with the Royals, posting a 4.76 ERA with Kansas City in the regular season, but he was able to work to a sub-3.00 ERA in his last four and a half seasons with the Reds. He'll join fellow offseason acquisition Jeff Samardzija as supporting pieces behind Madison Bumgarner in the Giants' rotation.
Cueto will start Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets on Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. After a shaky regular season with the Royals, Cueto has proved to be inconsistent once again in the postseason. He followed up his great Game 5 performance in the ALDS by allowing eight runs over just two innings in his lone start against the Blue Jays, but he'll look to reverse course against Jacob deGrom and the Mets.
Royals ace Johnny Cueto will start Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays on Monday. Although Cueto struggled over the final month of the regular season, his masterful performance in Game 5 of the ALDS justified the decision to trade for him. Cueto held Houston to just two runs on two hits over eight innings Wednesday, retiring 19 straight to end the outing.
Royals starter Johnny Cueto gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five over six innings against the Astros on Friday in Game 2 of the ALDS. He did not factor in the decision in the Royals' 5-4 win. Cueto dug the Royals an early hole, allowing Houston to score in each of the first three innings, but they would rally against the Astros' bullpen to escape with a crucial Game 2 victory. Look for Cueto to draw the Game 5 assignment on normal rest Wednesday, should the series return to Kansas City.
Royals starting Yordano Ventura will start Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. The Royals will wait to find out who they will play against in the ALDS, with the Astros and Yankees set to face off in a wild-card matchup Tuesday. Johnny Cueto will start Game 2, with Edinson Volquez likely to take the mound in Game 3.