Johnny Cueto Allows the Atlanta Braves to Rip Off His Cape

Cliff Eastham@RedsToTheBoneSenior Writer IIMay 16, 2012

Johnny Cueto
Johnny CuetoKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Johnny Cueto, who was off to a fantastic start to the season, met his match to the ‘nth’ last night in Atlanta.

The Braves chased the NL ERA leader before the fifth inning and served him with his first defeat of 2012 as they salvaged a split in the two-game set.

He has been so outstanding this year, that even four innings of five-run baseball just lifts his ERA to 1.89. That is saying a mouthful right there, I don’t care who you are.

So far in his eight starts, six have been dubbed “quality starts.” For anyone who doesn’t know the meaning of that moniker, it is given to a starting pitcher who pitches a minimum of six innings and allows three or less earned runs.

In a season that has produced a host of excellent pitching statistics, nobody stood taller (until last night) than Cueto. Entering the game he had a Bob Gibson-esque ERA of 1.12, a 4-0 record, one complete game and had come out of a game without surrendering a run three times.

His WHIP entering the game last night was 0.972. At night’s end it stood at 1.089.

The Braves jumped on him for eight hits, however only one of those was for extra bases. Brian McCann lit him up to lead off the second inning with a 388 foot shot to the seats in right.

Cueto has served notice to all that he is not just the "ace" of the staff but an "ace" in and of himself. He has become arguably one of the best four or five starters in the National League.

He is rolling along with an ERA+ of 209. Clayton Kershaw is doing very well, yet his ERA+ pales at 163. Roy Halladay, who led the league in that category in 2011, checks in at only 118.

In the eight games Cueto has started, the Reds have a record of 6-2. In stark contrast, the Phillies are only 3-5 when Halladay starts, the five losses are all in succession.

The Dodgers have a 6-2 record when last year’s Cy Young Award winner Kershaw starts.

Everybody has a bad day at some point. Stephen Strasburg was treated poorly last night by the San Diego Padres, chasing him after four innings as well.

The beating Cueto took last night only proves that he is human, not that the Braves are his kryptonite. His cape may be gone, but he hasn’t even learned how to fly yet. Beware!