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After Johnny Cueto’s mediocre 2022 debut with the Charlotte Knights on Saturday, the question was whether that start was merely the first step in a multi-start tune-up, or the best Cueto had to offer.
After Cueto threw four easy, breezy shutout innings against Jacksonville on Thursday, the answer looks like the former.
Cueto gave up line drive after line drive in the shaky road outing, stalling out at 2⅔ innings and 53 pitches. This time, tasked with four innings or 75 pitches, the frame count came first. Cueto faced the minimum over four innings on just 46 pitches. He struck out six against zero walks, and erased the lone single with a double play.
Jeff Cohen talked to Wes Helms after the game, and Helms said that Cueto’s first start served as a springboard for his second.
Cueto also topped out one tick higher than he did in Nashville, getting to 92 on the Truist Field gun after topping out at 91 here. I wouldn’t expect that fastball to gain more velocity from here, but as long as he’s not hovering around 90 as he did in his first pitches of the season, he might have enough power to fill a back-end spot, at least providing his execution is as precise as it seemed to be on Thursday.
- Adam Haseley went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a strikeout.
- Yolbert Sánchez was 1-for-3 with two walks.
- Micker Adolfo, 2-for-5 with a homer, double and two strikeouts.
- Zack Remillard went off from the ninth spot: 3-for-3 with two homers, a double, a walk and six RBIs.
- Johnny Cueto: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K on 45 pitches.
- Lenyn Sosa singled thrice and struck out twice.
- Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-4 with a K.
- José Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a strikeout and his first stolen base.
- Oscar Colás went 0-for-5 with a walk.
- Bryan Ramos, 1-for-3 with two walks.
- Harvin Mendoza went 1-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
*Luis Curbelo returned to Winston-Salem after striking out in 20 of 34 plate appearances at Birmingham. He went 2-for-3 with two walks.
*Here’s footage of Colás’ second homer of the season on Wednesday night.
Fayetteville 2, Kannapolis 1 (Game 1, 7 innings)
- James Beard went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
- DJ Gladney singled and struck out twice.
- Wes Kath doubled, singled and struck out.
- Kohl Simas got beat with a couple of solo shots: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR
Kannapolis 3, Fayetteville 0 (Game 2, 7 innings)
- DJ Gladney walked once and struck out thrice.
- Wes Kath was 0-for-2 with a walk.
- Wilfred Veras went 1-for-2 with a homer and a walk.
- Cristian Mena with the start of the year: 6.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K