KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Johnny Cueto didn't take it personally, and he even seemed to agree with the reasoning.
The Royals chose Edinson Volquez to start Tuesday night's Game 1 of the World Series instead of Cueto, who is scheduled to pitch Wednesday night in Game 2. The move was made largely because they didn't want Cueto to have to start a game on the road, where he has had his share of postseason difficulties.
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"It doesn't matter to me whether I pitch at home or on the road,'' Cueto said Tuesday. "But I do feel more comfortable here at home.''
Cueto, 29, was 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts with the Royals after they acquired him at the trade deadline. He has started three games this postseason, two of them at home. One was terrific (Game 5 of the ALDS against Houston), one was OK (Game 2 against the Astros) and one was a train wreck (Game 3 of the ALCS at Toronto).
That last one, in which he allowed eight runs in two-plus innings, coupled with a poor outing at Pittsburgh as a member of the Reds in the 2013 NL wild-card game, convinced the Royals to keep Cueto home. His next start would come in Game 6, if necessary, at Kauffman Stadium.
"He really draws on the energy of our fans,'' manager Ned Yost said of Cueto before Game 1. "And again, I felt like you try to put everybody in a position where they can be successful. And he more than anybody else really draws that energy from our fans. We just felt it was the best move.''
Cueto was 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA with the Reds at the time of the trade, but has had command issues since joining the Royals.
"My ups and downs have been . . . it's just part of the game,'' said Cueto, who has maintained he is healthy even as others have raised the question. "I've pitched some good games as well. The year is not over. And all I'm focused on is trying to go out and help this team win.''