Unfortunately, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto had to learn this the hard way. The young righthander pitched poorly in his last start and drenched his excuse in ranch dressing with a side of celery. A "bad batch" of chicken wings were to blame, he said.
On Thursday, Cueto decided to skip the tasty app in his pregame ritual and it showed in the result: A season-high nine strikeouts over seven innings as the Reds earned a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. The victory gave the Reds a split in a four-game series between two of the most disappointing teams in the big leagues.
From the AP:
Cueto, who blamed bad chicken wings for an upset stomach while pitching a season-low 3 2-3 innings in his last start at Wrigley Field, bounced back to throw three-hit ball for seven shutout innings. He took over the NL ERA lead, lowering his mark from 2.06 to 1.94.
"I didn't have any wings today," Cueto said.
As funny as the excuse sounds, it's really not that rare of an occurrence in the big leagues. San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, after all, was recently sidelined with food poisoning in Philly. Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford ate some bad sushi in spring training and had to start his season late. With as much traveling and eating out as baseball players do, it's an occupational hazard.
That said, this is the first time I've seen a player place the blame on a meal that's not exactly a performance enhancer when cooked properly. Rule of thumb: If your dinner comes with a wet-nap, it's not something you should be eating the night before a start.