With Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey due back soon, Mike Leake’s
spot in the Cincinnati Reds’ rotation could be at risk.
If he extends his recent hot streak, though, he might not have
much to worry about.
Leake seeks a fourth consecutive win as the Reds look to
continue their recent home success against the Houston Astros on
Tuesday night, a day after Monday’s series opener was rained
Cincinnati (14-14) won its first five home games this season –
two over the Astros – but dropped to 8-8 at Great American Ball
Park home with a 9-5 loss to Florida on Sunday.
Reds starters, who have one of the worst ERAs in the majors at
5.28, have gone 9-1 with a 2.86 ERA during a 13-3 home stretch
against Houston. The club has also thrived offensively during that
span, outscoring the Astros 98-44.
Cincinnati, which ranks at or near the top of the NL with 147
runs scored and 35 homers, was held to a season-low two hits during
Leake’s latest start, a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee last Tuesday. The
right-hander (3-0, 4.40) allowed two runs and seven hits over seven
Leake, accused of shoplifting at a department store April 18,
had the charge reduced to unauthorized use of property Friday.
“He pitched better, actually (since the incident),” manager
Dusty Baker said. “That’s something he wanted to prove to us.
Hopefully, he’ll have some closure now.”
Leake, 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts against Houston, has
gone 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in his last three outings. Another solid
performance could make it tough to take him out of the rotation
when Cueto and Bailey return from rehabbing injuries.
Bailey is expected to pitch Thursday afternoon, when these teams
will make up Monday’s rainout.
“We’ve got a plan,” Baker told the Reds’ official website about
the three pitchers. “We don’t necessarily want to say or don’t
necessarily want them to know yet. We don’t want them to get ahead
of themselves. We want them to go out and pitch and do the best
they can to win and go as far as they can go at this point.”
Houston (11-17) defeated Milwaukee 5-0 on Sunday, its second
straight victory following a three-game skid.
Carlos Lee went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs before
being carted off after colliding with teammate Angel Sanchez in the
outfield. The slugger suffered bruised ribs, but X-rays and a CT
scan came back normal. However, he was too sore to play Tuesday and
there is no timetable for his return.
J.A. Happ (1-4, 6.35) will try to help Houston win three
straight for the first time this season, but he has struggled of
The left-hander dropped his third consecutive start Wednesday,
allowing two runs over five innings of a 6-5 loss to St. Louis.
“It’s not going great, it is going tough for me personally,”
said Happ, who allowed a season-worst seven runs in four innings of
an 8-2 loss at Cincinnati on April 5.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who homered Sunday, is 4
for 5 with two home runs against Happ.