San Francisco Giants’ pitching ace Johnny Cueto suffered a groin injury last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which caused him to miss his start against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Luckily for the Giants, the injury was relatively minor, as Cueto will take the mound for the third and final game against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
The Giants are 22-9 when Cueto starts. He’s pitched for a 2.79 ERA since season start, with five complete games in 31 starts.
“I was throwing everything like I’m pitching in a real game, and I noticed nothing was bothering me,” Cueto said.
There’s no denying Cueto is one of the best in the Giants’ bullpen. Unfortunately, it’s not enough for the Giants to have decent starters, especially since their relief has been so unreliable post-All-Star break. Their relievers have blown 24 starts since April. Righty Santiago Casilla is ranked the worst reliever in the National League, with his nine blown saves since season start.
The Giants hold second in the wild card race by only one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, which means their playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread. The Giants got extremely lucky with their blowout loss on Wednesday night, simply because the Cardinals couldn’t scrape the W over the Cincinnati Reds.
“They know what’s at stake,” said Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy. “They’ve been through this they’re battle tested. It’s so important every pitch every play every at bat. That’s where it’s at right now and they realize that trust me. Obviously you do have to but [the loss] behind you and get back to work…get these bats going again. “
The Giants have proven time and time again they’re capable of settling into an offensive groove. But they need that groove in their final game against the Rockies, especially since their progression to October baseball will be determined by their ability to stay above the Cardinals.