Johnny Cueto has become a thorn in the Kansas City Royals’ side


When you give up three pitching prospects for an ace, you expect that ace to be, well, an ace. The Kansas City Royals‘ have had no such luck with Johnny Cueto. Cueto was brought on to be the ace of the squad and it seemed like a foolproof plan. With the Cincinnati Reds, Cueto had 7-6 record and a very solid 2.62 ERA. His .93 WHIP ensured that he kept guys off of base and his 120 strikeouts in 130.2 innings ensured that he missed plenty of bats.

What’s there to lose?

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Well, a lot apparently. Since jumping over to the junior circuit to join the Kansas City Royals, Cueto has a 2-5 record with a 4.86 ERA. His WHIP has ballooned to 1.36 and opponents are hitting a massive .302 against him.

You could call it a hard time settling in, or you could look closer at the numbers. Cueto joined the Kansas City Royals’ and was immediately pitted against the high flying offense of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cueto delivered a quality start, throwing 6.0 innings and giving up just 3 earned runs. In his next outing against a powerful Detroit Tigers, he improved, throwing 7.0 innings and giving up just 2 earned runs. Then it got even more promising, he followed with a complete game shut-out against those same Tigers.

Staying on track, Cueto shut down the Angels, pitching 8.0 innings of one-run ball.

And that is where the fun stopped. Next up on the Kansas City Royals’ docket was the lowly Boston Red Sox. Those lowly Sox lit up the Royal’s ace for 13 hits and 7 runs in just 6.0 innings. Being the trendy man that he is, Cueto stuck with the trends. The Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers and the Chicago White Sox tagged him for 6, 4 and 5 runs, respectively. Suddenly, Cueto is rocking a 9.45 ERA with 37 hits and 21 earned runs surrendered in 20 innings.

So what do the Kansas City Royals do now? You can’t skip a start, but you can’t keep starting him. The division is all but clinched, so the idea is to keep throwing him out there so he can iron out the kinks. Or, you could take a different approach and sit him down and hope it clears his head for the playoffs. Either way, the Kansas City Royals are still at risk of losing their top seed and losing momentum as well.

To make matters worse, Johnny Cueto does not have a good track record in the playoffs. The former Red’s ace has an 0-2 record and a 5.19 ERA in two games started. Perhaps he really is starting to crack under pressure.

As if it could not get any worse, Cueto did the unpopular thing and skipped his own fan event. Reports indicate that fans waited in the heat for 2 and a half hours just to be stood up by the ‘ace’. The cause? A therapeutic massage. Perhaps it was to iron out a problem or two, but that is no way to make it into the fans’ good graces.

Whatever the case, the Kansas City Royals need him for the playoffs. Momentum is a powerful tool but you have to have at least two pitchers you can rely on to keep you in games.

Next: Gordon is back with the Royals!

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