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Pirates fans rattle Johnny Cueto with Darryl Strawberry-like chant (Video)

Pirates fansPittsburgh Pirates fans created an electric environment at PNC Park on Tuesday for the team’s one-game playoff with the Cincinnati Reds. They packed the house, were loud throughout the game and really helped boost the Pirates to a 6-2 win. And once the team got on top, they smelled blood and jumped all over Reds starter Johnny Cueto.

The Pirates fans had a stadium-wide “Cue-to, Cue-to” chant going the first few innings. The chant was reminiscent of how fans used to taunt Darryl Strawberry with the “Darryl, Darryl” chant. During the second inning, it looked like the chant got to Cueto. He dropped the ball in between pitches, and then gave up a home run to Russell Martin after missing badly on a fastball.

Cueto allowed seven hits, four runs (3 earned) and walked one over 3.1 innings. He gave up two home runs and really should have been pulled in the second. Great win for Pittsburgh.

Matt Garza to Johnny Cueto: ‘Grow the hell up’

Matt-Garza-CubsThe Reds held a comfortable 4-0 lead over the Cubs on Sunday when Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto threw a pitch over David DeJesus’ head. Since Matt Garza had hit Todd Frazier with a pitch two innings earlier, both benches were warned by the home plate umpire. The Cubs eventually won the game in extra innings.

Garza, who insists he did not hit Frazier intentionally, ripped Cueto after the game for retaliating and in turn motivating Chicago to come back and win the game.

“Hopefully he learns to grow the hell up,” Garza said, via CSNChicago.com. “Cueto should learn you don’t go after guys’ heads. Don’t wake a sleeping dog and I think that’s kind of immature on his part and totally uncalled for. He’s lucky that retaliation isn’t in our vocabulary here.

“That’s kind of BS on his part. Just totally immature. If he has something to say about it, he knows where to find my locker and definitely I’ll find his. You’re up 4-0, grow up. I hope he hears this, I really don’t care.”

Maybe Cueto wasn’t throwing over DeJesus intentionally. For all we know he might have eaten another bad batch of chicken wings before his start. But if it was intentional, you can understand why Garza would be upset. If you’re going to throw at someone on purpose, you never throw in the area of their head. Whether or not the exchange sparked a Cubs comeback is a different discussion altogether.

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Fans in Taiwan welcome Manny Ramirez with a Johnny Cueto sign (Picture)

Manny-Ramirez-Johnny-Cueto-Taiwan

Manny Ramirez is a brand new face in Taiwan, and the fans are still trying to figure him out. The former MLB slugger made his debut with the EDA Rhinos on Wednesday, going 2-for-6 from the plate with two singles. As you can see from the photo above, fans were thrilled to finally see Manny in game action. However, they have a little work to do when it comes to making signs.

The gentleman in that sign is not Manny Ramirez. Very similar hairstyle, but unfortunately not Manny. As Eye on Baseball pointed out, that would be Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. Aside from their dread locks, the two have very little in common. Ramirez was once one of the best hitters in the AL and Cueto is one of the best pitchers in the NL.

Honest mistake, as this is all going to take some getting used to. Manny has gotten around over the past couple of years (see his Dominican League homer here), so you can’t expect the fans in every country he has played in to be instantly familiar with him. Whatever the case, the fans seem to love him. What more can you ask for?

Johnny Cueto leaves NLDS Game 1 after eight pitches with back spasms (Video)

The Reds had some bad luck on Saturday when ace pitcher Johnny Cueto left Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants after eight pitches because of back spasms.

Cueto struck out Angel Pagan to start the game, but he was lifted after throwing two pitches to Marco Scutaro. Cueto attempted to make a pitch, but he stopped before throwing the ball and grabbed his side/back in obvious pain.

Cincinnati pulled Cueto and replaced him with third-year pitcher Sam LeCure. LeCure, who has made 10 starts during his career but has worked exclusively as a reliever this season, went 1.2 scoreless before being lifted for pinch-hitter Homer Bailey in the third.

The Reds say Cueto is day-to-day with the injury, but it’s unclear whether he will be able to return during the series. If the Reds decide to replace him on the NLDS roster, he would be ineligible for the NLCS should the Reds advance. Pitcher Mike Leake, who went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 30 starts this season, would be a likely replacement if Cueto cannot pitch again in the series.

Cueto went 19-9 during the regular season and was third in the NL with a 2.78 ERA. He also left a start last September with a lat injury and was shut down for the rest of the season because of it.

Johnny Cueto’s Last Start Sabotaged by Bad Batch of Chicken Wings

Johnny Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since returning from his triceps injury in May. He’s posted a 2.06 ERA in 17 starts and would be the league leader if he had thrown enough innings. However, his recent run of excellence for the Reds was marred by a poor start on Saturday against the Cubs.

Cueto gave up five runs on seven hits and couldn’t make it past the fourth inning. What led to the poor outing? As Redlegs Review pointed out to us, Cueto says a bad batch of chicken wings did him in.

“I had bad chicken wings at the hotel,” Cueto told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Felt like I was going to throw up. I’m good now. I’m ready to pitch tomorrow.”

That certainly is a new one when it comes to excuses for poor performances. Chicken wings did him in? Chicken wings? You serious bro? That’s the best you could come up with? Next thing you know he’ll be telling us he had a contaminated piece of meat or tainted energy drink. If the wings were the problem, maybe it’s because he ordered them at a strip club like Pacman Jones.

UPDATE: Cueto went seven scoreless for the win Thursday, shutting out the Rockies. After the game, he referenced the wings again! “I didn’t have any wings today,” Cueto said. “I felt strong. I have been working hard to get better.” Classic!

Reds Locking Up Core Players: Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto Get Extensions

The Cincinnati Reds have been busy signing their (mostly) young talent to multi-year extensions this offseason. In December, pitcher Bronson Arroyo signed a three-year deal that will take him through the age of 36. He’s the only player the Reds extended that’s over the age of 27. Shortly after extending Arroyo, the Reds signed 23-year-old Jay Bruce and 27-year-old and reigning NL MVP Joey Votto to six and three-year deals, respectively. On Thursday, the Reds signed pitcher Johnny Cueto, 25, to a four-year deal and are reportedly pursuing an extension with 27-year-old pitcher Edinson Volquez.

The moves signal that the 2010 NL Central champs are serious about contending for the foreseeable future. Since arriving in Cincinnati in 2006, Arroyo has won at least 14 games four times, including a career-high 17 last season. Arroyo also won a Gold Glove last season. Cueto went 12-7 last season with a respectable 3.64 ERA. Bruce hit 25 home runs last season, though 19 of those came at the Great American Ballpark — about as hitter-friendly a park as you’ll find. The main concern with Bruce is his strikeout numbers; he’s had more than 100 twice in his three major league seasons, and a career-high 136 last year.

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How Long Before Dusty Baker Ruins Johnny Cueto?

In case you missed it Thursday, Reds rookie Johnny Cueto was rather impressive making his major league debut. The 22-year-old was perfect through his first five innings before giving up a solo HR to Justin Upton in the 6th, the only base-runner he allowed all game. Cueto went seven innings of one-run, one-hit ball, striking out 10 for the win. Needless to say, Johnny Cueto was nothing short of dominant. One problem, however. Given the fact that Cincinnati now has a new manager with a track record of abusing young arms, it didn’t take long for my man Pat Lackey to develop Cueto’s timeline to Tommy John. Check it out:

April 3rd- Dominant debut
May 27th- 14 strikeouts against the Pirates, Dusty ramps his pitch count to 125 to close out the 2-hitter. Some fans grumble, but are quickly given the evil eye.
June 15th- His first 130 pitch outing against the Red Sox
June 20th- His second 130 pitch outing against the Blue Jays
July 27th- “twinge” in his elbow
August 17th- Tommy John surgery
August 18th- FireDustyBaker.com gets one million hits

I’m not sure what was more impressive: Cueto’s debut, or Lackey’s timeline. Sad thing is, I think we’re looking at a realistic situation. These days it’s a surprise if a pitcher makes it through the first three-four years of his career without needing TJ surgery. What happened to the old days when they used to let pitcher’s throw with arms swollen like basketballs? Guess Dusty longs for those days.