Watch: Johnny Cueto and the do's and don'ts of bat-breaking
Johnny Cueto turned in another solid effort with his start against the Pirates on Tuesday night, working around four walks to throw six innings of two-run ball before yielding to the bullpen. However, he did fail to come through in a key moment at the plate.
With men on first and second and one out in the fourth inning, Cueto came to the dish with a chance to help the Reds add to the two runs they had scored to take a 3-2 lead. A terrible hitter even for a pitcher (.097/.122/.100 career), he failed at two bunt attempts, then struck out looking at a 93 mph sinker from Pittsburgh starter Brandon Cumpton. Worse, he followed that by whiffing in his attempt to break his bat over his knee (h/t to Michael Clair for capturing the magic):
Cueto appeared to be moving too quickly to get good leverage. Fortunately, he didn't appear to injure himself, nor did he look as ridiculous as the Cardinals' Nick Punto did after lining out in the second inning of Game 5 of the 2011 World Series:
Both players should have either left the lumber alone, or taken lessons from the great Bo Jackson, whose considerable multisport skills included the ability to break a bat in the clutch -- whether over his knee or his head:
Admittedly, not everybody can be Bo Jackson. Especially not pitchers, like reliever-turned-MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams:
[mlbvideo id="17465777" width="600" height="336" /]
Spontaneity helps -- Punto carried the bat with him to first base, suggesting premeditation, which is a no-no -- and so does intense frustration. Here's the Orioles' Chris Davis after a key strikeout:
[mlbvideo id="26327097" width="600" height="336" /]Boom! That's how it's done, but don't try this at home, folks. Leave it to the professionals.