Here’s the moment. Here’s why the Kansas City Royals gave up Brandon Finnegan for a shiny rental pitcher. It’s the big game. And it’s high time much-ballyhooed Johnny Cueto lived up to his past numbers.
Far too often lately, of course, he hasn’t. The King of the shimmy-shimmy-ko-ko-bop pitching style has been seeing the “bop” transform from the sweet sound of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt as the batter flails to the ugly noise of an opponent’s bat solidly meeting the horsehide. And with each bop, KC fans have been getting more unhappy. Cueto’s wiggling and nonchalance may look clever and root-worthy when he’s effective, but they look like amateur trickery when he isn’t.
After five terrible outings, each probably costing him millions going forward since this is his big contract year, he finally said that it was probably because catcher Salvy Perez was setting up too high. OH, of course. And you waited five games? Sounds like BS to me. I’d expect that kind of excuse from a rookie or other unestablished player but Cueto? He’s been around for years and has been an All-Star just like Perez. True, he was new to the team and the league, but he already had his best friend, fellow pitching Dominican Edinson Volquez on the team, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t have spoken up immediately if he had wanted his catcher to set up lower.
In any event, the past does not matter. What the Royals and their fans have is tonight’s game. The ball and the future of KC’s wonderful 2015 season will literally be in Johnny Cueto’s hands. And I hope that manager Ned Yost will position himself on the top step of the dugout, ready to catapult out to yank Cueto if the dreadlocked one looks disastrous.