Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets – 7:10 p.m.
Reds ace Johnny Cueto makes his long-awaited return from the disabled list tonight in New York. He gets his first start in more than a month, but it’s less that he’s actually pitching again and more about how he might be pitching that makes this Reds-Mets matchup so worth watching.
The right hander originally went down on the DL in April with a lat injury, but his return was delayed as he was struggling with the right oblique issues that caused him problems during the playoffs last season.
The Cincinnati front office originally didn’t think the oblique problems had anything to do with Cueto’s injuries, but now neither they nor Cueto are certain.
For the last few seasons, Cueto has been utilizing a sort of corkscrew delivery. To better shield the baseball, he turns toward centerfield, with his back toward the hitter, before unfurling toward the plate with his delivery. It involves a lot of twisting and turning, and that may be putting unnecessary strain on his oblique muscles.
According to a couple interviews, Cueto is now considering altering his mechanics. It’s unclear whether he’s going to experiment with those changed now, or wait until the offseason when it’s much safer to do so.
Which begs the question, which Cueto windup do we see tonight? The twisty-turny corkscrew, or something more typical and toned down? We will have to watch and find out.