The Pitcher: Johnny Cueto
The problem is that the Phillies still have to hit the ball. It has been the problem for the last month. And just when we all put the thought in our heads that they hit rock bottom, the Miami series happened. The Giants pitching is mediocre at best, and they will trot out Johnny Cueto on Saturday afternoon for the important middle game of the series.
Cueto comes into the series at 5-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He has struck out a staff-high 68 hitters this season. The righty has not gone less than six innings since his first start of the season. He has allowed more than three earned runs only three times in his eleven appearances.
He comes in having faced this group of Phillies before and having a decent amount of success against them. Seven of the ten Phils who have faced him have at least one hit with Odubel Herrera leading the way. He has three hits, including a round-tripper, in ten at-bats against Cueto.
The two-time All-Star currently holds a 2.09 ERA at CBP where he has also surrendered six homers in the same amount of games.
Cueto uses a combination of seven different pitches. His two fastball variations sit in the low-to-mid 90s, while his slider dives at a low-to-mid 80s. He has become the type of pitcher who can use any of his pitches to get hitters out. With the exception of his cutter, Cueto has used all the pitches in his repertoires more than two hundred times.
The Phils will have to try and attack early in the game because, historically, as Cueto moves into the later innings, he somehow gains strength. Over the course of his career, the team batting average drops from .272 in the first inning to .145 by the ninth.
The Phils are hoping to get Cueto after a series (and new month) opening win. Otherwise, they could drop the series before they bat an eye.