Game Thoughts: Cueto Go!


Here's the buzz from Maricopa County:

CINCINNATI - With Reds phenom Johnny Cueto set to make his major league debut on Thursday, Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson did some digging to find a scouting report on the young right-hander.

Hudson was told by a friend that Cueto was reminiscent of a young Pedro Martinez.

Ken Griffey Jr. might make a good advance scout one day.

"I was like, 'OK, we'll see,' " Hudson said. "He wasn't lying."

Cueto dazzled for seven innings on Thursday afternoon, allowing just one hit and striking out 10 to lead the Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks and give Cincinnati the rubber game of this season-opening series.

The 22-year-old retired 21 of the 22 batters he faced. Justin Upton's solo home run in the sixth was all that stood between Cueto and seven perfect innings.

"He's got great stuff and he pounds the zone with it, that's what makes him effective," Upton said. "He's just a great pitcher."

As Cueto was pumping strikes with three pitches, Diamondbacks left-hander Doug Davis had major problems finding the strike zone. Davis, making the first of two scheduled starts before undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer, was all over the place with his fastball, routinely falling behind in the count on his way to six walks in 3 2/3 innings.

"I had no rhythm out there whatsoever," Davis said. "I was falling behind and just couldn't find a release point."

Cueto had no such problems, and it was evident after he struck out the first batter of the game - Chris Young, on a low, 96 mph fastball - that the Diamondbacks might be in for a long afternoon.

"He's got great stuff," Eric Byrnes said. "Fastball spotted to both sides. Good breaking ball, threw his change-up. He had everything."

In the second inning, Cueto got Byrnes lunging at a slider before striking out Mark Reynolds with another 96 mph fastball. In the third, he beat Upton with a 95 mph fastball. He blew another fastball past Young in the fourth, then caught Chris Burke looking at a slider.

He didn't even throw his first change-up until the fifth, and he threw it three consecutive times in the sixth inning to strike out pinch-hitter Jeff Salazar. The final change-up to Salazar registered at 88 mph.

How's this for stuff? A fastball at 96 mph, a slider between 88-90 mph and a change-up in the upper-80s.

"That's Jake Peavy-like - he's got that type of stuff," Hudson said. "If he holds out (stays healthy), and I hope he does, he'll have a great career."

 And here is the Enquirer's pile of good quotes about young Johnny.

And Daugherty also had a pile of good quotes from the Reds' joyous postgame lockerroom.  (Oddly, I found his article on the AZ Republic's website but couldn't locate it on the Enquirer's.)

So, what are ya'll thinking?

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