Johnny Cueto woke up the Major League Baseball world and refuses to let them sleep. Throwing seven innings? Okay, we Reds fan could accept that. One run? Wow, it must have been a good start. No walks? Hey, it's better than Homer Bailey. TEN STRIKEOUTS? Whoa, now. Who are we talking about again? Did we change the subject? Are we still talking about a Reds pitcher? Are we still talking about a pitcher that is "home-grown" in our own farm system? WOW! That answer is yes.
The reason Johnny Cueto did so well is that his fastball was electric. Topping out at 96 miles per hour, the path of the ball was on a seed into Paul Bako's catching mitt. Not to mention the fact that if you watch his strikeout pitches, they're all over the strike zone, not just contained in one spot. That shows maturity way beyond the 22 years Cueto has been alive. The slider froze countless hitters as it had such a late bite that it caused the Diamondbacks to almost buckle when they realized the pitch was not leaving the strike zone as it had appeared. The changeup in the sixth and seventh inning had its own life as Arizona was completely caught off-guard. But who's to blame them? When you have a pitcher that is throwing a laser to home plate and then comes back with a slower pitch that looks identical to the pitch before coming out of the hand, how are you supposed to react? Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks did the right thing, by looking at strike three seven times. His WHIP after one game is a ridiculous 0.143, showing the tenacity at getting after batters and challenging them to his stuff. Never once did Cueto go to a three ball count, keeping his pitch count down and forcing the Arizona batters to make something happen themselves instead of cheating the Reds by forcing a base on balls.
Now, will Johnny Cueto be as electric in his next start? It is unlikely, because it will be hard to live up to the already immense standards he has raised for himself. However, it is clear that we as Reds fans should be excited for this young man and the future he brings for the city of Cincinnati.