March 5, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake (44) throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leake Proves His Worthiness, Shuts Door on Marlins

Cincinnati Reds’ starter Mike Leake put an exclamation point on his bid not to be the starter booted out of the rotation when ace Johnny Cueto returns.

The 25-year old may not have twirled a gem, but he did throw his third quality start of the season, as the Reds blanked the Miami Marlins 4-0 powered by two homers by Shin-Soo Choo. He needed help from Sean Marshall getting out of trouble in the seventh. The two pitchers were joined by Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman in throwing an 11-hit shutout at the Miami Marlins. It was the fourth shutout for the Reds pitchers this season.

The 11 hits in a shutout is three shy of the record for a nine inning game. The Cleveland Indians got 14 hits while being white-washed in 1928 by the Washington Senators.

Leake (3-2) picked up the win and lowered his ERA to 3.72, trimming that statistic by over half a run. All Reds’ starters have ERA’s under 4 which is incredible these days.

Cueto is expected to start Monday against the New York Mets. His start inconveniently is on the same day that Leake would be starting, if everything had gone according to Hoyle (that is an old saying, so if you haven’t heard it, forgive me but I like it).

ESPN scheduling shows that Mat Latos is penciled to start the second game in the series in New York. At this juncture it is difficult reading minds, so we are left to wonder if Leake is getting bumped by southpaw Tony Cingrani, will miss a start or pitch on a couple days extra rest. It would be unlikely, in the opinion of this writer that Leake would be sent to Louisville.

Since his rookie season Leake has started a total of 86 games. The Reds record in games in which he started is 48 up and 38 down. Of those 86 games, 51 of them have been quality starts. That is 59.3 percent which is not too shabby. Those 51 quality starts rank him 23rd in the National League. Teammates Mat Latos is 9th in the league with 65, Cueto is 12th with 61, and Bronson Arroyo is 13th with 60. Homer Bailey falls behind Leake in 30th place with 47.

More impressive is the fact that he has more QS than Adam Wainwright, Jordan Zimmermann, Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, Barry Zito and Jake Westbrook, among many others.

In those quality starts his overall record is 27-7 with a very trim ERA of 2.18.

At this stage of Cingrani’s career it would be disingenuous for the Reds’ management to choose him over the more experienced Leake who has been tried by fire.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Mike Leake MLB

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