Johnny Cueto was a Lucas Duda away from a no-hitter, so he changed his delivery
Cueto was a Lucas Duda away from a no-hitter
While his fellow long-haired starter, Jacob deGrom, didn't have his best day, it almost wouldn't have mattered given how well Johnny Cueto pitched during Wednesday's World Series Game 2. The pausing, wiggling, twirling starter pitched a complete game two-hitter, giving up only one run in the Royals' 7-1 victory. And he would have had a no-hitter, too, if it weren't for that meddling Lucas Duda, who picked up both of the Mets' base hits --neither of which was hit all that hard.
In the top of the second, Duda singled on a ground ball to Mike Moustakas, the ball coming off his bat at a Statcast-tracked 65 mph.
Two innings later, the Mets would score their only run on another Duda single. This one dropped in at only 68 mph. During the season, only 10 players picked up hits with batted-ball velocities that low off Cueto.
But after using his full windup in Duda's first at-bat, and then going from the stretch with runners on in his second, Cueto got an idea. Knowing that Duda likes to employ a high leg kick when swinging the bat, he decided to mess with his timing.
Instead of letting Duda do this:
Cueto shortened his motion, dropping the usual wiggle and pause. Lo and behold, Duda failed to reach base for the only time in the game. Check out Cueto's usual motion on the left, compared to his modified one against the Mets' first baseman on the right:
Which I guess answers the question, "To wiggle or not to wiggle" with a resounding, "Well, it depends on who is at the plate." We'll see if other Royals pitchers decide to adopt the wiggle when they take on the Mets at Citi Field for Game 3 on Friday. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with the game beginning at 8 p.m. on FOX.