Young: Thou shalt not run on Johnny Cueto

From SABR member Geoff Young at Baseball Prospectus on December 4, 2012:

On September 7, 2010, in the second inning of a game between the Reds and the Rockies, Eric Young Jr. stole second base. The pitcher was Johnny Cueto, who hasn’t allowed a steal of second in 61 starts since then.

Cueto possesses one of baseball’s best pickoff moves (he caught Young off second base in the fourth inning of the same game), and runners are 2-for-15 against him over the past two years: On June 14, 2011, Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon swiped third base against Cueto. On July 3, 2012, Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz stole home.

Otherwise, since Young’s success, 12 men have tried to steal second against Cueto; all have failed. Several more were picked off first base (they weren’t all necessarily trying to steal). Some were picked off first and caught stealing. Here are his victims:

Date: June 4, 2011 (box)
Runner: Andre Ethier (career 19-for-37 in stolen base attempts at the time, 51.4 percent)
Type: Pickoff
Catcher: Ramon Hernandez (he was a bystander, but we’ll list the catcher on pickoffs anyway)
This was a crazy game. Cueto left after seven innings with a 7-2 lead, but the Dodgers came back with five in the eighth and four in the 11th to win, 11-8.

But we’re interested in what happened much earlier. With two out in the top of the first, Ethier grounded into a 1-6 force play. He then got picked off first with a 1-2 count on Matt Kemp.

Taking the bat out of Kemp’s hands was a good idea. His grand slam in the eighth off Logan Ondrusek tied the game, and his RBI groundout in the 11th brought home Aaron Miles for the Dodgers’ final run.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 4, 2012. Last Updated: December 4, 2012.