Cueto, Giants take aim at Cubs

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants take on the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants take on the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make his second start since returning from a two-month absence but could find himself throwing to a substitute batterymate when the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs continue their three-game series on Tuesday night.

The Giants announced before Monday's 2-1, 11-inning victory that Buster Posey, selected to the All-Star Game as a reserve, has agreed to bow out of next week's contest in order to get a cortisone shot in his painful right hip.


The 10-year veteran then went out and caught all 11 innings of Monday's win, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout as his batting average dropped to .280, the lowest it's been since April.

"We talked about this in the past month, how we could get to the break and get this injection and hopefully get it to calm down and clear up," Giants manager Bruce Bochy disclosed in his pregame chat with reporters Monday night. "He's been playing with it. You could tell. All of you can tell. It's bothering him. He's been a warrior through this.


"The break will serve him well."

Bochy gets two opportunities to give his six-time All-Star a break from catching with the Giants facing left-handed starting pitchers in the next two games. The Cubs are slated to send Jose Quintana (7-6, 4.22) to the mound Tuesday.

Nick Hundley has gotten 32 starts behind the plate for the Giants this season, almost exclusively against left-handed starters.

Posey has started 10 of those games at first base, replacing Brandon Belt, a left-handed hitter.

While it's unlikely Bochy would sit Belt two days in a row -- the Giants are slated to face left-hander Mike Montgomery on Wednesday afternoon -- it's possible he could be moved to left field for one of the two games.

Posey is not expected to miss any playing time (other than the annual showcase itself) either before or after the All-Star Game.

Cueto (3-1, 1.95) got off to a shaky start last Thursday against St. Louis in his first major league outing since April 28. He'd been on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow.

After allowing four runs in the first inning, he settled down and limited the Cardinals to one additional run through five innings, but nonetheless suffered his first loss of the season.


The 32-year-old has made 25 career starts against the Cubs, going 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA. He was on the losing end of a 4-1 decision last May in Chicago in his most recent outing against the Cubs, a game in which Kyle Schwarber tagged him for a home run.

Quintana is coming off a 5-2 win over Detroit last Wednesday, one that did not get rave reviews from Cubs manager Joe Maddon after watching the Tigers hit two home runs, raising the 29-year-old's season total to 14.

"His change-up has become moot," Maddon assessed of Quintana's predictability. "We have to get the change-up back as being pertinent."

Quintana faced the Giants when they visited Chicago in May, suffering the loss in a 5-4 defeat in which Brandon Crawford smacked a two-run homer.

Posey has a homer and a triple in six career at-bats against Quintana, who has never won in San Francisco, going 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA.

He's 0-3 in his career against the Giants with a 5.82 ERA.

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