Leake Trending In Wrong Direction

It’s easy to beat up on Mike Leake. He hasn’t exactly sizzled thus far into the 2012 season. But with the expectations placed on this Reds squad, he is one of the easier targets.

Leake pitches during the 1st inning vs. Astros. The Reds dropped a 6-4 decision. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

And there is some justification for such. Yes, it’s only four games into his season, but outside of his first start, Leake has been unable to produce anything resembling a quality start. And that first start barely qualified (6 IP, 3 R) as a quality start. For a guy that led the team in quality starts, wins and strikeouts for 2011, Leake has looked quite the opposite for 2012.

And as you would expect, the numbers tell the story. In his last three starts, Leake has pitched 6.1, 5.2 and 3.2 innings. Now with having gone through the rotation four full times, Leake has some dubious numbers. Among the starting staff, he has surrendered the most hits (29), allowed the most runs (19), earned runs (16) while posting the least innings pitched (21.2). Leake also owns the highest BAA (.326).

Those numbers don’t tell the whole story either. Look at these…

Split PA AB R H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG SF ROE BAbip
Three Balls 14 9 1 4 3 0 0 5 1 .444 .643 .778 0 0 .500
Two Strikes 42 37 5 12 6 1 0 4 9 .324 .405 .541 0 1 .429
Batter Ahead 27 22 3 6 4 0 0 5 1 .273 .407 .455 0 0 .286
Even Count 41 39 8 12 3 2 1 0 4 .308 .300 .564 1 1 .314
Pitcher Ahead 29 28 6 11 2 1 1 0 4 .393 .414 .643 0 0 .435
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/28/2012.

I suppose getting ahead in the count doesn’t pay.

What might cause a stir is that Leake’s BAA on opponents leading off an inning is a staggering .391. He’s in a somewhat of a hole before the first out.

In reading Mark Sheldon’s wrap-up of last night’s game, there was a question presented to manager Dusty Baker about potentially skipping Leake on the next time through the rotation. Dusty’s response…

“The game just ended. It’s kind of premature to ask me that.”

And Baker continued to show his confidence in Leake…

“He’s working hard. He’ll find it. Everybody is capable of having three bad ones in a row. Just don’t panic.”

Don’t panic, he says. I’m guessing that asking about skipping Leake is a sign of panic then.

Maybe it is, but there this guy named Chapman…

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Topics: Baseball, Cincinnati Reds, Mike Leake, MLB

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  • beeker

    How much do you think Leake’s struggles have to do with unfamiliarity with Mesaraco? Mez has caught 3 of Leake’s 4 starts. I certainly wouldn’t blame all of it on that, but it could be one of several factors.

  • Steven Engbloom

     @beeker SOme will poo-poo the stat of catcher’s ERA, but I believe it does hold some significance. Familiarity is vital IMHO and that can lead to throwing a pitch in a count where you might not if Hanigan is behind the plate.
    That said, they might as well get used to each other… 

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