Things We Know: Pitching

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Yes, I’m still sulking over 10-1 beatdown the good guys absorbed last evening. While it wasn’t pretty to watch (except for Yonder Alonso’s 5th home run of the season), there are facts that are already settled surrounding the Reds pitching staff.

Some of these are pretty much known, others may not be, and others are just downright frustrating. The staff was viewed as a strength of the Reds heading into this season. I suppose that’s why we hear that age-old phrase, “That’s why they play the games”.

Here you go…

1. Mike Leake will lead the team in wins and strikeouts

The last part of that statement is in doubt, but very little. Leake’s 12 wins cannot be surpassed as Johnny Cueto and his team second best nine wins are most likely shelved for the season. Cueto only had two starts remaining anyway. But who would have thought Leake would lead the staff in whiffs? He has 118 with Cueto having 104, Bronson Arroyo accumulating 100 and Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez next in line with 94.

And here’s something else…Leake will be the only other starter with an ERA under 4.00.

2. Bronson Arroyo will lead the staff in losses and home runs allowed.

A bug “duh” on this, I know. Arroyo’s 12 losses and 44 homers allowed will actually outdistance every other pitcher by a fair amount. In losses, the next in line is currently Leake with 9. After that, it falls to Bailey with 7.

And the long ball? Leake follows him there, too with 23.

3. Edinson Volquez is still Edinson Volquez

Kind of profound, huh? But if you ponder that statement, it is true. As I recently pointed out, Volquez was great in Louisville on his extended stay there, but has yet to really show why he’s worthy of being a member of this starting staff going forward. And here’s what really gets me on Volquez.

As some may recall, I was one of the leaders of the Volquez brigade. I had no issue with him being named Opening Day starter. Yes, I’m chowing on crow over that one. And Volquez has done nothing in order for me to stick to my guns on this. I hope he does succeed, but in taking into consideration what we all have witnessed in 2011, I refuse to hold my breath.

4. Sam LeCure has a niche

Coming into this season, LeCure was used as a starter due to Cueto and Bailey beginning the season on the DL. WHen both returned, LeCure was placed to the bullpen. While his numbers over the past month haven’t been stellar, his over season has been better than some may have expected. He’s the “long guy”, but the little niche he has carved is pitching when the bases are loaded. In a small sample, LeCure faced batters 12 times with the sacks full. His slash against was a spectacular .083/.083/.167 allowing only 1 hit. He did not issue a walk in those situations and struck out 5 batters.

5. That Johnny Cueto can pitch

And that’s where Cueto has turned a corner. He’s not throwing, he’s pitching. His SO rate may be down, but Cueto showed he’s not afraid to pitch to contact. You have a good defensive team, why not let the guys make some of their dough in the field? He was in line to contend for the NL ERA title until his recent injury whic could (and should) have him shut down for the remainder of 2011.

What could have been if he hadn’t started the season on the DL and ended the season there as well. In his 24 starts, his slash against was .220/.290/.304. In his 30 starts this year, Roy Halladay‘s is .241/.269/.310.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at those that swing the lumber.

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Tags: Baseball Bronson Arroyo Cincinnati Reds Edinson Volquez Johnny Cueto Mike Leake MLB Sam LeCure Starting Pitching

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