Our Cuet-O-Sapien has been made for the breaking of others' backs, but how about his own? As he carries us past the quiet house part of the season, kicking the roses in the Pirates' yard, will he have kisses on his neck? Or will he be trampled past repair?
What I'm trying to say, once you hack through the tortured lyrics, is that Johnny Cueto pitched 156 innings last year. He already has 161.2 this year with nine more starts scheduled. That doesn't include the playoffs. So I'm going to do some rough math; perhaps you will join me in it.
Assuming that Cueto makes those nine starts, he should end the year with ~220 IP (assuming 6.2IP/start, which is about what he's been doing). The playoffs are another maximum 19 games. The most additional starts Cueto could make is seven (two games in the NLDS, three in the NLCS, and then - since he pitched in game 7 of the NLCS - he probably couldn't do more than two in the world series). That's another 46.2 innings, bringing his 2012 total up to 266.2
We're not done though. The World Baseball Classic is in the Spring. From what I gather, there are a maximum of eight games; three in the first pool, three in the second, semifinals, and a final. I think I ought to let Andromache or some Andromache-like being explain rosters, because I haven't found any online. But even if Cueto is the Dominican Republic's #1, I don't think he can go more than three games. Still, that'd be ~21 innings.
* For what it's worth, I imagine the other Reds in the WBC will be Arredondo, Marshall, Votto, and perhaps BP. Lotzkar may make the Canadian team, and I would think that Gregorious will go Dutch. If the Germans make it, which they won't, Lutz is a shoo-in. I don't think the Cuban team allows defectors on it. We can talk about this in the Spring, though.
So Cueto could end up pitching ~290 innings during this baseball year after throwing only 156 last baseball year. Dates are stupid, Slyde is not, and ignore the struck-through bit.
May 2012 to May 2013. That's after tossing 156 from 4/11-5/12. I'm as skeptical of the Verducci Effect as anyone else, but near-doubling your number of innings seems to be kinda frightening, no? Can Cueto handle it? Is it even worth finding out? I don't think he pitches Winter Ball anymore with his new contract, but it's still an incredible increase, even for a tough guy like Cueto.
The poll is, of course, stupid because it's not a given that limiting starts would cost him the Cy Young, and his innings might be limited in the playoffs or the WBC for extraneous factors. But it's something worth talking about.