The Cubs evened their weekend series with their guests from Cincinnati with a ninth inning full of heroics. Marcos Mateo got the last four outs and the decision, Kerry Wood was charged with a blown save and a very effective Casey Coleman got no decision.
All those wins, (blown) saves and losses really don't tell us much about a pitcher's day, do they?
Carlos Pena ripped his first home run in Wrigley Field, much to everyone's joy and relief. Jeff Baker seemingly won the game when Drew Stubbs routed himself around a fly ball that bounced over the ivy for an automatic double. Kosuke Fukudome quickly provided the actual walk-off hit in the form of a game-winning single. Blake DeWitt, who homered earlier in the game and singled after Pena's blast, crossed the plate with the winning score.
Poor Carlos Zambrano, who was almost to home plate to greet DeWitt the first time was not able to be the first guy out of the dugout when the jumping up and down started in earnest.
On to Sunday's matinée
After four rehab starts for Louisville, Johnny Cueto takes the ball for the first time in 2011. Coming back from "right biceps/triceps irritation", Cueto is bumping Mike Leake out of the starting five and into the bullpen. It's not fair to say Cueto is stealing Leake's job, but it may be slightly humorous.
Cueto is an under-sized power pitcher. Listed at 5'10", he's probably not even that tall. Fastball, change-up and slider in 2008, Cueto has mixed in more two-seam tailing/sinking fastballs over time, and began throwing a distinct cutter in 2010. His use of the pitch increased over the season, leaving his final 2010 classification and mix charts as such:
Last year, Cueto averaged 94 MPH with his fastball, not even a half MPH lower with the sinker, and 91 with the cutter. His slider speed will vary, usually above 85, and his change-up is around 83.
While Cueto's stuff misses bats, he's below average by a greater margin in getting called strikes vs. balls. He's prone to the long ball (hello, Great American Ballpark) and puts the ball in the air more than most (lots of pop-ups, too).
Cueto vs. MLB Starters (2010 vs. 2010) (100=average,>100="better" than average)
Whiff+ 110 POP+ 110 IWZ+ 96 GB+ 93 SLGCON+ 91 B:CS+ 85 HRpFBLD+ 78Cueto's best season of his three was 2010, so these numbers represent the underlying factors (some of them) of that performance. In both the last two seasons, his K per 9 IP was below 7 after the 8.2 of his rookie campaign. So he's already developed/changed as a pitcher, as hinted at by the new cutter last year.
Enjoy the game. Ryan Dempster finally looked like Ryan Dempster last time out. More of that today, please.
Happy Mother's Day. Try and make every day Mother's Day for the moms in your life.