Just like we have to take the good with wins, we also have to take the bad with losses. I pointed that out yesterday.
The bad from last night’s loss was the continued struggles of Reds rookie hurler Mike Leake. Nothing overly serious, but it does deserve a peek.
In the 20 games in which Leake has started, the Reds are 11-9. They should be 13-7. Two of those losses were the 6+ run lead meltdowns (Atlanta and Philadelphia).
We all know how Leake got to the bigs. He arrived in Cincinnati off the campus of Arizona State after being taken 8th overall in last year’s draft. Leake was on the roster in the Arizona Fall League. While at ASU, Leake threw 142 innings and he hurled 19.2 innings in the AFL for a total of 161.2 innings. Leake currently sits at 126 innings after last night’s outing. The Reds brass (manager Dusty Baker, GM Walt Jocketty and pitching coach Bryan Price) say there’s a plan, but no one seems to know of what it entails. Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe not. Either way, innings and pitch counts will be scrutinized for the remainder of 2010 for the rookie.
Since the beginning of June, Leake is 3-3, owner of a 5.40 ERA and a 1.567 WHIP. Of his ten outings during that time span, he has allowed 4 or more runs in six of those ten outings. In April and May, those comparative stats are 4-0, 2.45 ERA and 1.258 WHIP. Of Leake’s first ten outings, he only had one game allowing 4+ runs. One issue that could easily be attributed to the struggles is that Leake is now on his second and even third go around with a few teams. Once teams get a live look, they will be ready the next outing.
And yes, the pitch counts and innings have slightly dipped. During April and May, Leake averaged 98.4 pitches a game in April and May versus 90.6 a game since the beginning of June. 6.6 IP in April and May, 6.0 IP since June. Leake has been skipped a couple of times in the rotation to further decrease the overall innings and pitches.
But is that necessarily the right thing? Pitchers are a creature of habit (what baseball player isn’t?) and by skipping Leake, aren’t the Reds risking too drastic of a change to Leake’s routine?
Consider what has transpired in Wasington D.C. with Stephen Strasburg and ask yourself the first question again.
I bet you say yes.