Johnny Cueto looked like the old version of himself in his 2020 season debut with the SF Giants.
Truth be told there wasn’t a lot that went right for the Giants on Thursday night. The bullpen imploded and the team coudn’t get much going at the plate.
But the one positive takeaway is that Cueto kept the Giants in the game and he looked rejuvenated in his first start of the season.
Cueto tossed four innings of one-run ball allowing five hits and striking out three batters. In fact, for the first three innings, he looked like the old pre-Tommy John surgery version of himself.
The 34-year-old pitched three scoreless innings striking out a trio of Dodgers batters before running into a little trouble in the fourth inning.
Cueto allowed a two-out double to Corey Seager before surrenderng an RBI single to Enrqiue Hernandez putting the Dodgers on the board. A Joc Pederson single put runners on the corners, but Cueto was able to work out of the jam forcing Austin Barnes to groundout and end the inning.
The Giants would take him out following that with the team being very cautious about leaving starters in for too long, but it was nonethless an impressive outing for the right-handed ace.
Johnny Cueto is ready to prove his health with a strong 2020 season.
Cueto sat out for the vast majority of the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2018. He would return last September making four starts, finishing with a 5.06 ERA.
It was clear that Cueto was still finding his footing upon his return. But now, he’ll be given an extended opportunity to prove that he has fully returned to his pre-injury form.
While the shortened season will rob us of a full Cueto campaign, we’ll likely get to see around 12 starts from him when all is set and done. Obviously, the innings count will be down as well, but we’ll see enough of him to understand where he’s at going into next season.
At least for his first start, Cueto looked good. In particular, it was fun to see him mess with opposing batters’ timing with his varied shimmies on the mound.
Always known for his unorthodox pitching motion, Cueto seemed to add some new variety into his windup.
If Cueto plays anything like his first start of 2020 in the rest of the season, the Giants are in for a very impressive year from their now-healthy ace.