Johnny Cueto, meet supersized expectations.
Supersized expectations ... well, just please try to play nice with Mr. Cueto, will ya?
Hey, don't get me wrong. I was as excited as anyone to watch the 22-year-old turn in the mother of all debuts with 10 strikeouts over 7 innings in the Reds' 3-2 win over Arizona. I even got a bit angry when I found out I'll have to hope that four other fantasy owners are sleeping to get Cueto when he comes off waivers on April 5.
But there's a small part of me who saw Kerry Wood strike out 20 in his rookie season in 1998 and then never win more than 14 games before eventually being converted to a closer because of continuing arm problems that knows to give the guy some room.
I'm not suggesting that the same thing is going to happen to Cueto, just that Mark Grace's joking predictions of a Cy Young for Cueto this season might be a tad bit premature.
Still, it was a heck of a debut and arguably the best pitching introduction in Cincinnati history. Not only did it make us momentarily forget Homer Bailey, it was also one way for Cueto to guarantee a stay in Dusty Baker's vet-preferred lineup (Yes, that was Paul Bako behind the dish on Thursday.)
Already in today's books
Royals 4, Tigers 1 — Break 'em up!
Cubs 6, Brewers 3 — Kerry Wood is out of the doghouse for now.
Still in progress — San Diego 3, Houston 2 (Bottom 8th)
Tonight's pitching matchups (compiled by Nick Friedell)
NL — Pittsburgh (Z. Duke) at Atlanta (M. Hampton) — 7:10
Can Hampton make it through without getting hurt?
AL— Tampa Bay (A. Sonnastine) @ Baltimore (S. Trachsel)--7:05
The Human Rain Delay makes his return to Baltimore!
Toronto (D. McGowan) @ N.Y. Yankees (P. Hughes)--7:05
Hughes makes his first start in what many think will be a breakout season.